7 facts on climate change & food production for sustainable development

On the frontline of climate change, effects are real and measurable. As climate change evolves, food and agriculture need to follow suit. Rising temperatures, changes in rainfall, erratic weather patterns and the prevalence of pests and diseases resulting from climate change threaten agricultural productivity and therefore undermine global food security.

Simultaneously, the world’s population is growing steadily and expected to reach 9.6 billion by 2050. To meet this growing demand, agriculture and food systems must adapt to the adverse effects of climate change and become more resilient, productive and sustainable.

In celebration of this year’s World Food Day theme ‘Climate is changing. Food and agriculture must too,’ here are 7 facts around climate change and some of the things FAO is doing to mitigate its effects on agriculture.

1.Livestock contributes to nearly two thirds of agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and 78% of agricultural methane emissions. FAO is working with countries to improve livestock management and mitigate the effects of climate change.

2.Climate change’s negative impact on natural resources underlines the increasing importance of using these resources sustainably. The negative impact of climate change on natural resources, from declining global water supplies and quality to soil degradation, underlines the increasing importance of using these resources sustainably. Good soil and forestry management, for example, can lead to the natural absorption of carbon dioxide, thereby decreasing GHG emissions.

3.FAO estimates that agricultural production must rise by about 60% by 2050 in order to feed a larger population. Climate change is putting this objective at risk. Climate smart agriculture helps guide actions to transform and reorient agricultural systems by sustainably increasing agricultural productivity and income; adapting and building resilience to climate change; and reducing and/or removing GHG emissions, where possible.

4.Over 1/3 of food produced worldwide is lost or wasted. That amounts to about 1.3 billion tons per year. The Save Food initiative, managed by FAO and Messe Düsseldorf, encourages dialogue between industry, research, politics, and civil society on food losses and brings together stakeholders involved in the food supply chain for conferences and projects to support the development of effective measures.

5.By 2050, catches of main fish species are expected to decline by up to 40% in the tropics, where livelihoods, food and nutrition security strongly depend on the fisheries sector. FAO’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries guides governments and private actors in conserving and managing the world’s oceans, rivers and lakes.

6.Deforestation and forest degradation account for an estimated 10 – 11% of global GHG emissions. The Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) toolkit FAO developed collates a large number of tools, case studies and other resources, organised in modules to provide forest owners and other stakeholders access to resources for managing forests sustainably.

7.The world aims to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030; climate change is a challenge that must be addressed in order to continue the fight against hunger and achieve this goal. FAO is helping countries to improve the global food system, by working to facilitate dialogues between government and the private sector.

Everyone has a role to play in mitigating the effects of climate change. You too can help reduce your environmental footprint by becoming a more conscientious consumer and changing simple day-to-day decisions: waste less food, eat nutritious pulses, recycle.