Extreme weather likely to cause more severe 'food shocks'
The researchers said weather events like storms, droughts and heatwaves that impact food production could be happening every seven years out of ten by the end of this century.
The report released last week for the Global Food Safety program highlighted an increasing risk of global food supply disruptions and price spikes that could result from such weather events, and offered new recommendations for mitigation.
It said the pressure on the world's food supplies was so great, and the increase is extreme weather events so rapid, that food shortages that may have typically occurred once a century happen once every 30 years by 2040.
In addition, the researchers suggested our reliance on increasing volumes of global trade may be creating structural vulnerability.
The report entitled Extreme Weather and Global Food System Resilience also warned national responses to production drops, like the imposition of trade bans on certain foods, risked exacerbating the problem and fuelling spikes in food prices.
"Looking ahead, we can see that the world is changing, but we are not yet in a position to understand in detail what the weather will look like, and what the events will be that impact upon people’s lives the most," said Sir David King, U.K. Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative for Climate Change.
"The food system we increasingly rely on is a global enterprise. Up to now it’s been pretty robust and extreme weather has had limited impact on a global scale. But if the risks of an event are growing, and it could be unprecedented in scale and extent, how well prepared are we?
"Especially in the context of an international food system that over time has become increasingly efficient and therefore less resilient, the risks are serious and should be a cause for concern."
The report's authors said the biggest impact of these production shocks were likely to be felt across Africa and the Middle East.
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