Power Equipment Australasia

CLIMATE CHANGE Climate change: The time to act is now! In Australia, we can see the effects of climate change every day on the news and closer to home. We know we should be preparing for future chaos with flood mitigation programs and beefing up our bushfire fighting education and capability levels. However, there is an even more dire crisis coming that was aired at COP23. This extremely important meeting held in Dubai in January this year showed clearly, that the world is in real trouble. Extreme heatwaves, lack of rain and unprecedented wildfires devastated up to a third of cultivatable land in Russia, the world’s fourth largest grain exporter. At the same time, severe droughts in China and Ukraine contributed to a global wheat shortage having a dramatic effect on countries dependant on wheat imports like the Middle East and North Africa. Going back a little further, 2022 saw an extended 50°C heatwave in South Asia that jeopardised India’s wheat supply as crops died in the dry heat. As a result, India banned wheat exports. To summarise projections by Chatham House 2021, Climate Risk Assessment found that by 2040, just 16 years from now, the average proportion of global cropland affected by severe drought (less than 50% normal yield) will rise to 32% a year, more than three times the historic average. By 2050, this is projected to rise to almost 40%. THE CHALLENGE OF WORLD POPULATION GROWTH At the end of WWII, the world’s population was 3 billion. Not only is it rising but the rate of increase is accelerating. In first world, western countries it is largely dropping, however third world countries are seeing major population growth. By coincidence those same countries are the chief victims of climate change. 62% of employment in Africa is based on food production, either cropping or livestock. Climate change will drive down food production in these countries, further decreasing their ability to feed people. The population is projected to reach almost 10 billion within the next 25 years. How to feed the masses in the face of climate change? That’s the challenge. With millions of people already suffering from food deprivation, in one form or another, you can see that Australia has a part to play. THE VULNERABILITY OF FOOD SYSTEMS A third of the world’s food production is at risk from the climate crisis. At the same time, our food systems are one of the key contributors to climate breakdown. Greenhouse gas emissions from farm and land use change often contribute to that breakdown. Clearing forest and drying wetlands to make room for crops and livestock make up more than a fifth of the global carbon output (Source: Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) In other words, the world’s food systems are exceptionally vulnerable and yet, they need to grow more to feed the inevitable world population explosion. To quote an old saying “something’s got to give!” DEMAND FOR FOOD AND CLIMATE CHANGE Global food demand is tipped to be up by 50% by the year 2050. Over that time, the impacts of climate change on the capacity to feed the global population are projected to increase 20% over three decades. This will have a profoundly negative impact on food, human and global security. Here’s what the COP found: • Impacts are likely to be locked in for the period 2040-50 unless something is done about reducing the climate change that is driving the extreme weather events. • The average global cropland affected by severe drought will likely rise by 32% per year (where severe drought is defined as greater than 50% yield reduction). • By 2040, almost 700 million people a year will likely be exposed to drought of at least six months duration, nearly doubling global historic annual averages. So, we will see the cascading global impact drive, political instability and greater national insecurity. This will fuel regional and international conflict. Warwick Lorenz of Australian Pump Industries urges readers to be aware of the looming crisis and for the Government to prioritise action for a sustainable future MQ600TD Saving the town of Juba 24 | POWER EQUIPMENT AUSTRALASIA | MARCH - APRIL 2024