Climate Change and Food Security

Nov 2013 Experts: world's soil is at risk

​Around the world a silent crisis in building in the soil that feeds us, putting global food security at risk as demand for nutrition soars in the coming half century

​​Scientists estimate the world now loses about 75 billion tonnes of topsoil a year as it tries to feed itself. This rate is liable to grow as demand for food increases and the climate changes.

“Recent satellite surveys have shown a one per cent decline in the world’s farmed and grazed area every year over the past quarter of a century, due to a combination of land degradation and urban sprawl,”

​​​China is now the world’s leading producer of wheat. India is number two. The United States is third. In contrast to the United States, most wheat grown in China and India is irrigated.

​​For rice, these two countries totally dominate the world harvest.


The 11,000 year period of relative climate stability in which agriculture developed is over.
​Lester Brown

         LAND                                        FOOD & PRICES                       PEOPLE                          
Mapping hotspots of climate change and food insecurity in the global tropics (& Africa)
Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS
Land degradation
2012 Study: Global crop production shows some signs of stagnating
All on one page Land Use in Agriculture Our World in Data  Max Roser 2015 
Developing countries are home to roughly 80 percent of the world’s population, 98 percent of humanity’s hungry people, and 78 percent of harvested croplands. 
​Africa holds 65 per cent of the world’s arable land.   (Where does the world’s food grow? Mar 2016)

Land is a finite resource: Global arable lands = 1/32 of the planet
• 52% of agricultural land affected by degradation
• Land sector emissions: 6.2 Billion tonnes (6.2Gt) of CO2-e per year
• 1.8 billion of world population in 2025 will be living with absolute water scarcity
and 2/3 (or 5.3 billion) could live under water-stress conditions
• Land degradation over the next 25 years may reduce global food production by
up to 12%, and lead to an increase of, as much as, 30% of world food prices
• World Drylands = 40% land mass; 1/3 population; 44% food production system
• 925 million people going hungry (80%: small-holder farmers & landless poor in
rural areas
• 40% interstate conflicts associated with land and natural resources: in 2008 in
more than 30 countries
• Some 135 million people may be displaced by 2045 as a result of desertification