Food Shocks: The Impact of Simultaneous Extreme Events on Global Food Systems

Food Security
Friday, February 12, 2016: 10:00 AM-11:30 AM
Marshall Ballroom North (Marriott Wardman Park)
By 2050, the planet will be shared by 9 billion people. Climate change, water stress, and demographic change are all putting pressure on farming systems, ecosystems, and food chains. Feeding the growing global population a sustainable and balanced diet is one of the biggest challenges facing society. But this is just the beginning: scientists are now considering the risks posed by ‘food shocks,’ and the significant steps required to improve the resilience of global food chains. Food ‘shocks’– coincidental extreme events – are forecast to increase in frequency in the coming decades. Scientists predict they could wreak havoc on food markets, commodity exports, and families around the world. For example, what if severe drought in the U.S. Midwest drives down the soy and maize harvest at the same time that a record-breaking heat wave in Europe bakes the continent’s wheat crop? Or, if agricultural reform in China leads to a decrease in rice production at the same time Bangladesh has floods, how badly would prices and availability be affected? How will global food markets and governments react to a major drop in production of a staple crop? An international research and policy taskforce has examined the far-reaching impacts that multiple, simultaneous events will have. This session presents the latest research on the likelihood and impact of food shocks and the potential actions for governments, industry, farmers, and consumers around the world.
Matt Goode, Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Sian Williams, Global Food Security Program and Riaz Bhunnoo, Global Food Security Program
Kirsty Lewis, Met Office Hadley Center for Climate Science and Services
Climate and Weather-Driven Food Shocks in Different Parts of the World
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