Food Safety Magazine

News | December 2, 2015

Climate Change Threatens Global Food Security, Says USDA

By Staff

Climate Change Threatens Global Food Security, Says USDA

A major scientific assessment released by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) indicates that climate change will likely have a negative effect on global food security. The risks that climate change pose to global food security and the challenges facing farmers and consumers in adapting to changing climate conditions are outlined in the USDA’s new report entitled “Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System”. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack released the report during the COP-21 Paris Climate Conference today.    

According to the report, climate change will likely cause an adverse domino effect--a disruption in food production, followed by decreased food safety, limited availability of certain foods on a local level and increased food prices.

The agency believes that a lack of response to climate change will hurt “progress on global food security through production disruption that lead to constraints on local availability and price increases, interrupted transport conduits, and diminished food safety, among other causes. The risks are greatest for the global poor and in tropical regions.”

"Accurately identifying needs and vulnerabilities, and effectively targeting adaptive practices and technologies across the full scope of the food system, are central to improving global food security in a changing climate." says John Holdren, Assistant to the President or Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.            

"The past 6 years have been a success story in terms of global food security. Two hundred million fewer people are food insecure today than they were 6 years ago. The challenge we now face is whether we can maintain and even accelerate this progress despite the threats from climate change," says Vilsack. "The report we are releasing today highlights these challenges and offers pathways to avoid the most damaging effects of climate change."

To combat the aforementioned problems, President Obama has already pledged to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the range of 26-28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025. U.S. agriculture is helping meet this goal, and American farmers, ranchers and foresters have demonstrated their leadership in recognition that their contributions send a strong message to the rest of the world.

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