Addressing poverty best way to adapt to climate change

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Addressing poverty today is the single best way to help poor people in developing countries achieve food security and adapt to climate change, according to a new report issued Wednesday by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

When families have more income, they are better able to cope with drought, floods, and other climate shocks, says the report titled Food Security, Farming, and Climate Change to 2050: Scenarios, Results, Policy Options, released during the ongoing UN. climate change conference.

"Many have made the case that we have to address climate change to fight poverty. We are saying you must address poverty as a key part of climate change adaptation, and you must do it now. Once the most serious effects of climate change kick in, it will already be too late to respond effectively," said Gerald Nelson, IFPRI senior research fellow and report co-author.

This year's severe drought in Russia and devastating floods in Pakistan offer a glimpse of a future negatively affected by severe weather. Using sophisticated computer modeling, the study assesses the harmful impact of climate change on food security through 2050. It presents 15 different future scenarios based on various combinations of potential income growth, population growth, and possible climate situations that range from slightly to substantially wetter and hotter.

The report finds that between now and 2050 staple-food prices could rise by 42-131 percent for maize, 11-78 percent for rice, and 17-67 percent for wheat, depending on the state of the world' s climate, economy, and population.

After 2050, global average temperatures may rise by 2-4 degrees centigrade, and the effects of climate change on yields will likely be much more dramatic, the report says. Reducing emissions growth today is essential to avoid a calamitous second half of the 21st Century, it concludes.

IFPRI, a Washington-based think-tank on food problems, is financed by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, gathering 64 governments, private foundations, and international and regional organizations.

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