Date of release: Thursday, April 3, 2014

Professors John R. Porter (second left) and John Morton (fourth left) in YokohamaA landmark United Nations report on the impact of climate change includes major contributions from the University of Greenwich’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI).

Professors John R. Porter and John Morton were members of the writing team for the overall summaries in the report, as well as Coordinating Lead Authors of chapters on food security and rural livelihoods respectively.

Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability has now been published online, following its approval by delegates from 195 governments in a week-long meeting in Yokohama, Japan. It forms the second volume of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report.

Professor John R. Porter is one of two Coordinating Lead Authors of the chapter on food security and food systems. This concludes that local average temperature increases of more than one to two degrees above pre-industrial levels will introduce high levels of risk for most major crops, in both tropical and temperate regions, unless adaptation measures are taken.

The chapter states that negative impacts on crop productivity, combined with rising demand for food, will lead to substantial risks to global food production and food security, especially in tropical countries, increasing the chances of famine.

Professor John Morton is one of two Coordinating Lead Authors of the chapter on rural areas, which stresses the multiple and combined impacts that climate change will have on rural livelihoods and settlements. Food crops, food prices, livestock, fisheries, water supplies and infrastructure could all be affected.

“Rural people in developing countries are already highly vulnerable because of poverty, lower educational levels, and being remote from the centres of power. This will intensify these impacts upon them and limit their opportunities for adaptation,” Professor Morton says.

This chapter also includes a section drafted by NRI researcher Jeremy Haggar on the potential impacts of climate change on coffee, tea and cocoa, crops on which millions of smallholders in developing countries depend. 

The full report can be read here:

NRI works to support food security, sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries, and has a special focus on, and expertise in, development in Africa. 

Story by Public Relations

Picture: Professors John R. Porter (second left) and John Morton (fourth left) in Yokohama. Credit: Petra Tschakert, Penn State University.