Climate change could force as many as 122 million more people into extreme poverty by 2030 if nothing is done to combat it, according to a new report from the United Nations released Monday.
That figure is based on an analysis of the impact on small-scale farmer incomes across the world, with farming communities in sub-Saharan Africa among the hardest hit regions. The report — the 2016 State of Food and Agriculture report — was published by the Rome-based Food and Agriculture Organization, an agency within the broader U.N.
Without “widespread adoption of sustainable land, water, fisheries and forestry practices, global poverty cannot be eradicated,” the report says.
But the report doesn’t let farming off the hook either and says farmers and the farming industry must make moves toward reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.
There is, “no doubt that climate change will affect the agriculture sectors and food security and that its negative impact will become more severe as it accelerates,” the study says in part. “In some particularly vulnerable places, such as small islands or in areas affected by large-scale extreme weather and climate events, the impact could be catastrophic.”
As the global climate continues to change and harsher conditions are experienced across much of the globe, the impact on farms may come in many different ways. The report suggests that the best case scenario for these farms and farming communities would be for climate changes to arrive at a slow enough rate so that agriculture services can adapt with diversified crops and other methods to make food production more sustainable like agroecology and farming with the natural habitat.
“Higher temperatures and erratic weather patterns are already undermining the health of soils, forests and oceans on which agricultural sectors and food security depend. We have seen an increase of pest and disease outbreaks everywhere,” Jose Graziano da Silva, the director general of the FAO, said Friday.
The new report came nearly one year after the international community agreed to a framework — known as the Paris climate agreement — to lower greenhouse gas emissions. The global accord is an attempt to avoid catastrophic impacts of global climate change, including sea level rise that leads to coastal flooding, climate-caused drought, wildfire exacerbation and many other concerns.