NATO Review - Cooking for the planet, climate change and food security (with subtitles: English)

Uploaded by NATOCOMMUNITY on 31.01.2011

What are the possible results of increased food insecurity?
I don’t think we’ve yet grasped the scale and the urgency
of the issue of food security and how it relates to water and climate change
and land scarcity and the conversion of crop land to non-farm uses.
Every night at the dinner table there are another 216,000 people to be fed.
And after a while that begins to put pressure on resources.
It is, in a way, too late to solve it.
It’s solving itself, but it will take another two billion people
before the population growth stops.
We are no longer in the situation of the 70's or 80's,
where the population was growing exponentially.
We have more than tripled the global population since World War II.
From 2 billion to almost 7 billion. We’re never going to double it again.
How important is population growth?
In the developing countries, the big gap is in the family planning area.
There are over 200 million women who want to plan their families
but who do not have access to family planning services.
So we’re heading for 9 billion and that is catastrophic.
Even without climate change, even without global warming,
it’s very hard to see where the last 2 billion get fed from.
We must treat land as an extremely valuable resource
that you must not allow to be diverted to other purposes.
Most developed countries cannot feed themselves.
They import food. It’s cheaper. We need to protect our food resources
but we don’t need to stop these people from stealing potatoes.
What role will water play?
Land without water it’s not really worth anything.
Half the world lives in countries where water tables are falling,
and what this means is that in many countries, including China and India,
we have created food bubble economies,
because you can over-pump and expand your food production.
But when the aquifer is depleted
pumping is reduced to the rate of recharge.
These countries are pushing against the limits of their supplies.
When they need more water for cities they take it from agriculture,
and then they import grain to offset that loss.
Water tables are falling in so many countries so fast
that as they begin to hit bottom
it’s going to reverberate throughout the market.
Food – or Fuel?
The massive diversion of grain to the production of fuel for cars,
this past year, we harvested over 400 million tons of grain.
Roughly 100 million tons is going to ethanol distilleries.
Grain costs more than oil,
because if the price of oil goes up it will pull more grain
into the energy economy and there will be less in the food economy.
In effect, the 900 million automobile owners in the world
are now competing with the 2 billion poorest people
for the grain supply, and the difference between them
is the difference between an income of 30,000 dollars a year
and an income of 3000 dollars a year.
It’s easy to see who’s going to win, if governments do not intervene.
If we want to have a decent shot at saving the Greenland ice sheet
we’ve got to cut carbon emissions by 80 percent by 2020,
not by 2050, which is what political leaders like to talk about.
So we don’t have a lot of time to cut carbon emissions.