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Global food security & climate
Geoff Tansey
World Preservation Foundation
Conference, 3 Nov 2010
Social justice
Fairer decisions
The big issues
A dysfunctional system today
• 925 million undernourished in 2010, down from 1bn
• 2 billion micronutrient deficient
• About 1.2 billion overweight - 300 million obese
• Affects poor most, N & S
• 2.5bn people in agriculture (1.3bn smallholders)
– 75% of poor (<$2/day) in rural areas
– Women most badly affected but also major food
Sources: FAO, USDA, WHO & World Bank
From a stocks focus in 1970s
‘The concept of food security is broad
and complex but its cornerstone is a
system of grain reserves that will
protect the world against the effects of
violent fluctuations in food production
and food prices.’
‘Food security – not yet’, Comment,
Food Policy, Vol 1, No 4, August 1976, p270
Food security - FAO 1996
• A situation that exists
when all people, at all
times, have physical,
social and economic
access to sufficient,
safe and nutritious
food that meets their
dietary needs and food
preferences for an
active and healthy life
• Accessibility
• Availability
• Affordability
To genuinely sustainable food
• core goal - feed everyone sustainably,
equitably and healthily;
• addresses availability,affordability and
• diverse, ecologically-sound and resilient;
• builds capabilities and skills needed for
future generations.
Sustainable Development Commission
And beyond to food sovereignty:
‘the right of peoples to healthy and
culturally appropriate food produced
through ecologically sound and
sustainable methods, and their right to
define their own food and agriculture
systems.’ (Declaration of Nyéléni, 2007)
Climate change
• Global warming - 2-6oC
• Climate destabilisation
– Increased extreme events
– Floods, droughts, storms, fires
• Biodiversity loss
• Production losses and volatility
• Desertification and water stress
Fair shares
Fair play
Fair say
Prosperity without growth (for N)
• There is as yet no credible, socially just,
ecologically sustainable scenario of
continually growing incomes for a world
of nine billion people
• Simplistic assumptions that capitalism’s
propensity for efficiency will allow us to
stabilise the climate and protect against
resource scarcity are nothing short of
Tim Jackson, SDC
Beyond current assumptions
• Should we be able to consume what
we want, when we want, from
wherever we want?
• What is our historical responsibility?
– GHG emissions + ecological debt
What kind of innovation do we
need to secure our future food?
• local / institutional / political / financial
/ social / economic / legal not just
• Sustainable production, sustainable
and equitable consumption
Changing paradigms &
• To agro-ecological farming
from industrial, fossil fuel
based model
– Millennium Ecosystem Assess
– National Academy of Sciences
• Changing consumption
– Prosperity without growth (in N)
– Meat, dairy, oils
QuickTi me™ and a
are needed to see t his pict ure
Food, climate change & UK
• 20% UK GHG emissions from food
– 30% if include indirect from global land use
– Meat & dairy about 8% UK’s consumption related
GHGs (excludes effects on global land use)
• Water scarcity
– Agric uses 70% abstracted water globally,
– UK import’s 2/3rds ‘virtual water’ it uses
• Biodiversity loss
– Inc agricultural biodiversity
Action on
• Production
• Waste
• Consumption
– Footprinting this takes in ‘off-shoring’
– Both GHG emissions and water
• Dialogue
Avoid Déjà vu in 2020/30/50
‘The food crisis of the past two years has
drawn attention dramatically to both the
interdependence of production, trade,
stocks and prices and the serious
unpreparedness of the world as a whole
to meet the vagaries of the weather.’
Assessment of the World Food Situation Present and Future, prepared for
the UN World Food Conference, Rome, November 1974, Quoted in
Food Policy, Vol 1, No1, November 1975, p2
Food is a lens,
connector and
Climate change
Social Justice