World Global Risk Report 2019

One of the main concerns highlighted in the report is how climate change and environmental risk factors threaten food security for billions of people. Climate change continues to increase strain on the global food system through “changes in temperature”, rainfall and extreme weather events. CO2 concentrations are increasing. The last four summers have been the hottest on record.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned about the impacts on food security if global warming exceeds the 1.5 degrees Celsius targeted in the Paris Agreement.  Simplified this means that, for example, while 35 million people would be exposed to crop yield changes at 1.5 degrees Celsius, this number would increase to 18 billion at 3 degrees Celsius. Already, around one third of changes in yields are due to the climate factors.

This climate change placing a growing strain on the global food system, and with international tensions already heightened, the risk of geopolitically motivated food-supply disruptions increases. Worsening trade wars might spill over into high-stakes threats to disrupt food or agriculture supplies. Conflict affecting supply-chain chokepoints could lead to disruption of domestic and cross border flows of food.