Families to be Hard Hit by Climate Change - Report
23 September 2013 at 3:22 pm
Climate change will impact on families as food prices rise and the quality of food declines in Australia and throughout the world, an Oxfam report has revealed.
Oxfam’s Growing Disruption – released ahead of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment report – analysed the links between climate change and the causes of hunger, which affects one in eight people around the world.
According to the report, climate change will mean that more people will not be able to afford enough to eat and is likely to hit regions that are already more susceptible to food insecurity.
Oxfam Australia acting public policy and advocacy manager Kelly Dent said in addition to evidence of man-made climate change was becoming stronger, so too is the understanding of how it affected people, especially around hunger.
“We've long known that climate change will mean lost crops, but increasingly we're seeing its impacts through higher food prices, lower earnings, more health problems and lower quality food," she said.
“Australia is not immune to the impacts of climate change. We’ve seen first-hand the effects, having just experienced the warmest 12-month period since records began and extreme weather events such as bushfires and heavy rainfall in many states.”
The report highlighted events that have the potential to get worse and more frequent in urban and rural areas:
• In 2012 the drought in Russia cut the grain harvest by nearly 25 per cent, causing domestic prices of grain and bread to rocket, and driving many farmers into debt.
• In Pakistan the devastating 2010 flood destroyed more than 570,000 ha of crop land in Punjab and affected more than 20 million people, causing a 75 per cent reduction in income across affected households.
• A recent attribution study confirmed the 2011 drought in East Africa, which affected more than 13 million people and led to a famine in Somalia, was more likely to have occurred because of climate change.
Ms Dent said the IPCC report, to be launched on Friday, was expected to confirm beyond doubt that climate change was not only happening but was getting worse, and that humans have caused the majority of it.
“Leaders listening to the latest findings from climate scientists this week must remember that a hot world is a hungry world. They must take urgent action to slash emissions and direct more resources to building a sustainable food system,” she said.