Food Shortages Will Cause Perfect Storm of War and Unrest

March 19, 2009

(ChattahBox)—BBC News reported today of a dire warning from England’s chief scientist, Professor John Beddington, predicting a crisis of a worldwide population increase to 8.3 billion, combined with food and energy shortages that will cause a perfect storm of war, unrest and mass migration by the year 2030. Beddington makes these warnings before he presents his findings before the Sustainable Development Conference, starting next month in London. Beddington believes the demand for food and energy will outpace resources by 50 percent, in the next 20 years, with the growing specter of climate change making everything worse.

Beddington goes on to say the demand for water resources will increase by 30 percent in 2030, but fortunately, the world won’t suffer a complete meltdown. As always, the poorest nations will suffer the most with continuing famine and drought brought on by water shortages caused by climate change. In the UK and other developed nations, he expects huge price increases for food and energy. Africa, Europe and Asia are predicted to suffer wholesale water shortages in the next 20 years.

Beddington is not alone in his findings. The United Nations Environment Program issued its report last year warning that climate change, food and water shortages could threaten humanity’s survival. As global warming melts the glaciers that supply Asia’s biggest rivers, experts predict a massive drought soon in China, with a resulting food shortages, as farmers won’t have sufficient water to irrigate their fields.

So, what are the answers to this dire problem? Scientists say governments need to invest more in sustainable development, lower greenhouse gas emissions and stop turning food sources into biofuels, for starters. The global recession ironically, turns out to be good for the environment as a reduction in manufacturing and consumption lowers greenhouse gas emissions.

President Obama promised to enact federal legislation to curb carbon dioxide emissions and pledged to include the United States in the next Kyoto Protocol climate-change treaty, ending eight long years under the Bush administration of denying the existence of climate change. Rajendra K. Pachauri, chairman of the United Nation’s Panel on Climate Change is busy working on the next Kyoto agreement to focus more on carbon dioxide emissions while considering energy supplies and economies in a global recession.

Let’s hope Beddington’s dire consequences can be prevented with good, sound environmental policies and investment in sustainable development. Now that the United States has a president who isn’t a climate change denier, I have hope we can work with other nations to find a solution before it’s too late.


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