Climate change impact: 14.8 million to be at risk of hunger by 2030

According to The Global Food Policy Report-2022, an unprecedented suite of climatic changes has caused crop yield declines and production losses throughout the region.


Photo: Collected

August 18, 2022

DHAKA – Climate change will put about 14.8 million people at risk of hunger by 2030, says Global Food Policy Report-2022.

The report, prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), says the number of victims of hunger would be 11.3 million in 2030 if there was no impact of climate change.

According to the report, launched yesterday for Bangladesh at a Dhaka hotel, over 750 million people in South Asia are affected by floods, droughts, and climatic hazards caused by climate change.

“In Bangladesh, near-term projections estimate a reduction of up to 17 percent in total calorie consumption by 2030 due to climate change.”

The unprecedented suite of climatic changes has caused crop yield declines and production losses in the region, read the report.

The study found that subsistence fisheries in India and Bangladesh provide up to 60 percent of animal protein in people’s diets, but increasing salinity intrusions in inland aquaculture ponds have resulted in fish mortalities.

It says while the average temperature rise was 0.7 degrees Celsius between 1901 and 2018, a larger increase was observed over the Himalayas (1.3 degrees Celsius).

In Bangladesh, according to the report, average annual temperatures have increased in the last six decades, with warming accelerating from 2001 onward and a decline in precipitation of about 84mm per decade was observed from 1981 to 2010.

Extreme precipitation events will be 1.7 times more likely in Bangladesh by 2050 than they are now, read the report presented by Aditi Mukherji, principal researcher at the International Water Management Institute.

The report terms the 2017 Bangladesh flood “one rare case”. In 2017, flash floods in Bangladesh damaged nearly harvestable boro paddy on about 220,000 hectares. The floods caused a 30 percent year-on-year rise in paddy prices.

Another study projects loss of ecosystem services as a result of climate change in the range of $18 million to 20 million by 2050 in Bangladesh under low- and high-emissions scenarios.

The IFPRI report, based on the analysis of different studies, says the use of urea, a major emitter of nitrous oxide, is heavily subsidised across South Asia, especially in irrigated areas, resulting in its widespread overuse.

Speaking at the event, Shahidur Rashid, director (South Asia) of IFPRI, said the climate change impact would make it extremely challenging for the region to achieve the SDG goal of zero hunger by 2030.

Channing Arndt, director of IFPRl’s Environment and Production Technology Division, said the global emissions from the agriculture and food sectors would pose as a big challenge over the next 30 years and countries need to address it.

“Climate change is not confined to national boundaries and our member countries must consider trans-boundary action on mitigation and adaptation to address the impact of climate change,” said Tenzin Lekphell, secretary general of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Planning Minister MA Mannan said the government was committed to promote sustainable agriculture.

“We are working to improve early warning systems, invest in climate smart technology and develop heat and salinity tolerant crop varieties,” he said.

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