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John Wong

Weather, climate change and China's food security

The success or failure of China's efforts to ensure food security in the wake of the uncertainties presented by climate change could have ripple effects that go well beyond its own borders.

Published on Apr 30, 2014 2:28 PM

A report issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) on April 13 warned that the effects of climate change, such as global warming and rising sea levels, are real. They are posing serious threats to the world's ecosystems, water supply, food security and eventually global economic production and social systems. As IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri put it, "nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impact of climate change".

Many of the risks of global warming may be long term and gradual. The long-term impact of global warming on agriculture is supposed to include lower crop yields, a reduction of arable land and a rise in pests and disease. But the actual threat of global warming to agricultural production could be felt sooner through extreme and abnormal weather conditions, which have already occurred in greater frequency.

The world is experiencing more and more natural disasters, from floods and droughts to typhoons. Such natural disasters will inevitably threaten global food security.

Large disaster-prone countries like China and India are particularly vulnerable to climate change. Historically, these two countries have always struggled to produce enough food to feed their teeming millions because of unfavourable land ratios. For them, climate change will no doubt undermine the already precarious state of food security.

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