Week 6 Assignment – The Impact of Climate Change on Food Security
The United Nations (UN) has hired you as a consultant, and your task is to assess the impact that climate change and global warming are expected to have on population growth and the ability of societies in the developing world to ensure there is adequate food security.
As the world’s population nears 10 billion by 2050, the effects of global warming are stripping some natural resources from the environment. As they diminish in number, developing countries will face mounting obstacles to improving the livelihoods of their citizens and stabilizing their access to enough food. The reason these governments are struggling even now is that our climate influences their economic health and the consequent diminishing living standards of their peoples. Climate changes are responsible for the current loss of biodiversity as well as the physical access to some critical farming regions. As such, these changes in global weather patterns diminish agricultural output and the distribution of food to local and international markets. These difficulties will become even more significant for these countries as the Earth’s climate changes for the worse. Temperatures are already increasing incrementally, and polar ice caps are melting, so the salient question is: what does this suggest for developing societies?
The issue before the developing world is not its lack of food, but rather how to gain access to food. Simply put, changes in our climate are affecting the global food chain, and hence, the living standards of entire populations. Added to this is the fact that food is not getting to where it is needed in time to prevent hunger or starvation. In many developing countries, shortages are due to governments’ control over distribution networks rather than an insufficient supply of food itself. In effect, these governments are weaponizing food by favoring certain ethnic or religious groups over others. When added to dramatic climate changes that we are experiencing even now, the future for billions of poor people looks increasingly dim.
You are to write a minimum of a 5 page persuasive paper for the UN that addresses the following questions about the relationship between atmospheric weather patterns and food security in the developing world:
- Climate change and global warming are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same phenomenon. What are the differences between the two concepts and what leads to the confusion between them?
- In 1900, the average global temperature was about 13.7° Celsius (56.7° Fahrenheit) (Osborn, 2021), but as of 2020, the temperature has risen another 1.2°C to 14.9°C (58.9°F). According to the Earth and climate science community, if the Earth’s surface temperature rises another 2°C (3.6°F), we will suffer catastrophic weather patterns that, among other things, will raise sea levels, cause widespread droughts and wildfires, result in plant, insect, and animal extinctions, and reduce agricultural productivity throughout the world (Mastroianni, 2015 and Lindsey & Dahlman, 2020). How much credibility do you place in these projections? Why?
- There is no question that the Earth’s food sources are threatened by changes in its weather patterns, but what specific challenges does climate change pose to the food security of people in the developing world?
- There is currently a debate among some multinational lending agencies like the International Monetary Fund, UNICEF, and AID over the financial support for food security has been misused by recipient government officials. On the other hand, U.S. authorities insist that misuse of its assistance is not occurring because it has strict monitoring oversight in place. What is your position on this matter? Is there evidence that financial assistance to developing governments is being widely misused by government officials?
Read also Food Insecurity In India
Relationship Between Atmospheric Weather Patterns and Food security in the Developing World
In recent decades, food insecurity has been one of the major global concerns. A major factor causing this insecurity is climate change. Notably, climate change poses a significant threat to food security, especially in developing nations. As the impact of climate change has continually worsened over the decades, various agencies have channeled funds into developing countries for food security. However, these funds seem to be unhelpful as food insecurity in these nations continues to worsen. This essay seeks to define climate change, evaluate the impact of rising earth temperatures, explore the effects of climate change on food security for developing nations, and address the concern regarding misappropriation of financial support for food security by developing nations’ government officials.
What are the differences between Climate Change and Global Warming concepts and what leads to the confusion between them?
In recent years, global warming and climate change are terms people worldwide have become accustomed to hearing. Often people use the two terms interchangeably. However, whereas the two are related, they do not refer to the same phenomenon. Global warming is just one of the many aspects of climate change. The term was coined in the 1970s in response to the growing awareness of the damage pollutants – mainly chlorofluorocarbons – were having on the earth’s ozone layer (Lorenz, 2020). Typically, the earth’s surface is supposed to heat during the daytime as sun rays strike it. At night, the energy is radiated back into space. The process maintains the temperature levels of the earth at optimum level. However, the increasing concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, including chlorofluorocarbons, carbon dioxide, and methane, leads to the formation of a gaseous shield around the world that prevents the sun from escaping. The increased heat retention at the earth’s surface causes temperatures to rise beyond the optimal level (Mikhaylov, Moiseev, Aleshin, & Burkhardt, 2020). The described phenomenon is referred to as global warming.
Read also Global Warming Cause and Mitigation
Climate change refers to the increasing alteration in the various climate measures over a long period. According to Lorenz (2020), this includes temperature, precipitation, and wind patterns. The difference between climate change and global warming is commonly misunderstood because the increased temperature directly causes climate change. Notably, at least one of the climatic variables – temperature, rainfall, or wind – need to fluctuate over an extended period in a particular region of the earth or across the entire globe for climate change to be established (Mikhaylov, Moiseev, Aleshin, & Burkhardt, 2020). Therefore, climate change refers to the long-term change in regional or climate patterns.
Read also The Seriousness Of Global Warming
Rising Earth Temperatures
Global temperatures have been increasingly rising over the past few decades. In the 20th century, the average global temperature was about 13.7° Celsius, but as of 2020, the temperature had risen to 14.9° Celsius (Osborn, 2021). According to the Earth and Climate Science community, if the earth’s surface temperature increases by another 2° Celsius, the world will face catastrophic weather patterns that will cause, among other things, rise in sea levels, widespread droughts, and wildfires, reduced agricultural productivity, as well as plant, insect, and animal extinction worldwide. (Mastroianni, 2015) (Lindsey & Dahlman, 2020). Based on the documented impacts of global warming, it is only rational to place significant credibility on these projections.
For instance, Australia has already started experiencing the adverse impacts of global warming. Since 1910 since national records began, Australia’s temperatures have risen by about 1.44°C to 1.68°C (“Australia’s changing climate”, 2020). The effects of this warming have already started threatening the extinction of specific ecosystems, such as the Great Barrier Reef. Global warming threatens the extinction of ecosystems through temperature rise, salt invasion, water shortages, and extreme storm damage, among others. Moreover, one in every six species in Australia is at risk of extension due to the climate change resulting from global warming. When plants, animals, and birds are faced with climate change, they have two options to survive: move or adapt (“Impacts of global warming”, 2021). Since earth temperatures are rising across the globe, moving is not an option. Also, with the speed that climate is changing due to the rising earth temperatures, it is almost impossible for species to adapt quickly enough.
Another adverse consequence of global warming in Australia is in the food and farming realm. The country is experiencing changes in rainfall patterns, frequent heat waves, increasing severe drought, and extreme weather patterns that cause reduced agricultural productivity (“Impacts of global warming”, 2021). These are just some of the adverse effects of rising earth temperature in a single country; thus, the projections by Mastroianni (2015) and Lindsey and Dahlman (2020) should be taken seriously.
What specific challenges does climate change pose to the food security of people in the developing world?
Of all food securities, agriculture is the most sensitive to food security. Climate change poses various challenges to food security, especially for developing nations. One of the challenges to food security due to climate change is changes in rain patterns. According to Mugambiwa and Tirivangasi (2017), approximately 80 percent of agriculture in developing countries depends on rainwater. Rainfall shortages in developing countries dependent on the cultivation of semi-humid and non-irrigated crops cause a significant decline in agricultural productivity, threatening food security (Arora, 2019).
Climate change also causes extreme weather, which threatens food security. Meteorological records show that heatwaves have been relatively more frequent since the end of the last century. Combined with lack of rainfall, this has a direct adverse impact on the performance of some crops. During a crucial period in crops’ development, such as when flowering, a heatwave adversely impacts the harvest. Since developing countries do not have sufficient resources to invest in technologies such as greenhouse farming, they suffer the most from climate change (Mugambiwa & Tirivangasi, 2017).
Misuse of Food Security Financial Assistance
Other direct impacts of climate change on food security include drought, torrent rain, flooding, and tropical storms. Developing nations have not invested well enough in addressing such catastrophes; hence these challenges pose a serious food security threat. Indirect challenges of climate change on food security include increased infestations and diseases, rising sea levels, water supply shortage, and environmental migrations (Mugambiwa & Tirivangasi, 2017). Lack of financial muscle to effectively address these challenges causes developing nations to face relatively higher food security risks.
One of the main factors crippling the development of developing nations is corruption. Most developing countries are in the predicament they are because government officials misuse funds meant for development. For a long time now, corruption has been a major topic of discussion. According to Kenny (2017), World Bank investigations on financial aid to developing countries have uncovered evidence of corruption and fraud. For instance, between 2007 and 2012, the World Bank found sanctionable corruption and fraud in 157 contracts worth $245 million (Kenny, 2017). Additionally, measurement of lost aid through outcomes reveals distressing reality. Over the decades, agencies such as the International Monetary Fund, AID, and UNICEF have extended financial assistance to developing countries for food security. However, most of these countries do not have much to show for all the financial aid they have received (Kenny, 2017). Thus, evidence shows that in developing countries, government officials misuse financial support for food security.
There is a need for strict monitoring oversight of this aid to ensure that it is not misappropriated. The monitoring oversight functions must be such that they are committed to the highest standards of responsibility and accountability. Having strict monitoring oversight will facilitate effective prevention and detection of possible misuse of financial support for food security. According to Jeppesen (2019), investing in developing countries entails taking a calculated risk. Appropriate measures are, therefore, necessary to mitigate the risks, particularly corruption and fraud.
To sum up, whereas global warming and climate change are related, they are two different phenomena. Global warming is just one of the many aspects of climate change. It is also noting that if left unaddressed, rising earth temperatures could cause catastrophic weather patterns in the future. Moreover, climate change is causing developing nations to face serious food security threats due to their limited financial muscle. Despite the extensive financial support for food security from various sources, government officials misappropriate the funds. There is, therefore, a need for strict monitoring oversight of this aid to ensure that the support effectively serves its purpose.