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With storms to the east and wildfires to the west, the climate crisis is currently at the forefront of public consciousness. But aside from dramatic disasters there is another, pernicious threat that comes with a warming climate: diminishing global crop yields.
Counting calories vs. healthy foods<p>The unequal burden poorer countries will face is no surprise, <a href="https://www.ifpri.org/profile/ephraim-nkonya" target="_blank">Ephraim Nkonya</a>, an agricultural economist with the International Food Policy Research Institute who was not involved in the study, told EHN. It is well known that climate change <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/116/20/9808" target="_blank">disproportionately affects poorer nations</a>; it also disproportionately affects <a href="https://www.un.org/esa/desa/papers/2017/wp152_2017.pdf" target="_blank">poorer communities within nations</a>. Climate change, by exacerbating income and wealth inequalities, will of course widen food security disparities, he said.</p><p>But Nkonya questions whether caloric intake should be used as an indication of food security. "The current thinking is that we really need to look at a healthy diet." He said the FAO has pivoted their focus in recent years from raising caloric intake in food insecure areas to fostering systems that yield accessible, healthy diets. Simply raising a nation's average caloric intake does not translate necessarily to a more food secure nation, he said, and relying on a measure like caloric intake obscures population well-being.</p><p>For example, Nkonya quotes the FAO's "<a href="http://www.fao.org/3/ca9692en/online/ca9692en.html" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2020</a>" report and said that around 60 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa cannot afford a healthy diet. That information is lost if you only look at average caloric production and consumption, which have been on the rise.</p>
Farmer in Indonesia, which was one of the countries found to be most negatively impacted in the new study. (Credit: defika hendri/Unsplash)