Sunday, October 18, 2009

Boosting Food Production In the Face of Climate Change: Can Humanity Do It?

Will humanity be able to produce the 70% more food that we'll need to feed a growing human population in the next 40 years?

Treehugger digs into the question a bit:

By 2050, the world's population is expected to rise from 6.7 billion to 9.1 billion and feeding that many extra mouths, plus finding the space to grow the food to feed that many mouths, is going to take a serious amount of work and the FAO reports that we literally need to start today. That's before we factor in the droughts, floods, water scarcity, fluctuating temperatures, and other problems that will arise from climate change, essentially tying one hand behind our back while we try to grow our own food to feed ourselves.

Developing countries, in particular, will need an additional investment of $83 Billion (yes, Billion) USD, per year, just in food production to even come close to providing enough food by 2050. This is 50% more than they are currently receiving. Making this statistics game even worse, climate change is expected to reduce food production 30% in Africa and 21% in Asia. Plus, the increased use of land and resources to produce biofuels, presents another fight over resources and space.

As we read about disappearing glaciers, shrinking fresh water supplies, and the destructive impacts of our food and biofuel production systems on the health of ecosystems and people alike, humanity is faced with some very difficult realities here.

Of course, this Treehugger piece doesn't even start to get into the impacts of these agricultural requirements on biodiversity and ecosystem services -- whether the biosphere can even sustain 9.1 billion humans unless we make some serious advances in the sustainability of our food, fiber and biofuel systems, from their efficiency to the locations where we grow and harvest it.

What might the solutions be?  Treehugger talks about vertical farming, reducing meat consumption, and expanding food production in urban and suburban locales, where as we here at CVI note, there are untold millions of acres of roof space that are currently being wasted (and where roof gardens can also help to insulate buildings, reduce runoff and more).

Read the full Treehugger post>>

1 comment:

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