ZEF director Joachim von Braun at expert hearing of parliamentary committee on climate change and hunger

Rural scene in India. Photo by Till Ludwig (ZEF).

June 06, 2019. 

Experts say: Climate change increases hunger

Economic cooperation and development/public hearing - 05.06.2019 (hib 650/2019)

Berlin: (hib/JOH) According to numerous experts, climate change represents a major challenge for the already problematic food situation of the world's population. Three Germany-based experts were invited to speak on Wednesday morning June 5, 2019, at a public hearing organized by the Development Committee of the German Parliament about the topic of "World Food Supply and Climate Change" in Berlin. They warned that climate change would lead to increased land loss and would consequently massively intensify the conflicts over scarce resources.

The Director of the Center for Development Research (ZEF) in Bonn, Professor Joachim von Braun, emphasized in the three-hour discussion that feeding the world's population healthily is already posing a major problem right now. Earlier calculations had shown that around 22 billion dollars are needed annually for food aid and investments in agriculture in developing countries in order to create a world without hunger by 2030. Due to the growing climate risks, even more investments have to be made. Thus, investments in climate protection and agricultural development policy should be at the top of the agenda.

Agriculture must become more ecological and sustainable worldwide, said Mathias Mogge, Secretary General of Deutsche Welthungerhilfe. In particular increasing meat consumption requires more and more land for livestock farming and feed production. He said it was the job of politicians to counteract this with regulatory measures, such as the introduction of a CO2 tax.

According to Roman Herre, agricultural consultant of the FoodFirst information and action network FIAN, climate change will lead to a net land loss of 3.5 million square kilometres by the year 2100. This is equivalent to twice the agricultural area of the European Union. The least-developed countries would be particularly severely affected. Herre stressed that free trade plays a central role in food security. However, due to negative effects - such as increased food prices due to high import costs - it would be necessary to focus more on the development of local food systems.

Journalist Edgar Ludwig Gärtner opposed the statements of the three experts. He called the greenhouse gas effect "unverifiable" and he often referred to climate refugees who were mentioned in the debate as "weather refugees". He did not consider organic agriculture to be suitable for creating more food security. If agricultural productivity had to be doubled, there was no alternative to "artificial fertilizers and modern genetic engineering".

 

Original and official text in German here.

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