Stringent climate policies could push millions into hunger

Tough climate change mitigation policies could leave up to 280 million extra people at risk from hunger in 2050, a study from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) has revealed.

The researchers said it would be “increasingly crucial” to make the connection between climate action and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal to end hunger, and made a series of “smart and inclusive” policy recommendations.

These include agricultural subsidies, food aid to low-income countries, and support for populations at risk from hunger, with the IIASA warning that climate policies must “go beyond carbon pricing and shield the poor”.

The recommendations would cost between 0 and 0.46% of GDP to implement, far less than the price of climate change mitigation policies, although the study did not assess the direct impact of global warming on crop yields.

It was concluded that the world’s climate targets are achievable with sustainable land-use and agricultural development policies, and that the costs of these strategies would be “relatively small”.

“We emphasise that land and food-related climate change mitigation policies should be carefully designed,” said report author Shinichiro Fujimori of Kyoto University. “Policymakers should be aware that issues could arise as a result of the uniqueness of the food system compared to, for example, the energy system.”

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