Climate change is already affecting what we all eat, and is the biggest threat to winning the fight against hunger. Coal is the biggest single cause of climate change, yet industrialised countries are still burning huge amounts, despite efficient, affordable, renewable alternatives being available. Coal power stations in the G7 countries alone emit twice as much fossil fuel CO2 as the whole of Africa.
We can only afford to burn 20 per cent of coal reserves if we want to keep warming below 2°C – and even less to keep it to the safer level of 1.5°C. Already at the current warming of 0.85°C over pre-industrial times, vulnerable communities, including our Pacific neighbours, are struggling to cope with more fierce storms, floods and droughts. Cyclone Pam has been a sobering example, decimating crops and causing hunger on a wide scale across Vanuatu and beyond.
Olivier De Schutter, Former UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food (2008–14): “Coal-fired power stations increasingly look like weapons of destruction aimed at those who suffer the impacts of changing rainfall patterns as well as of extreme weather events.”