Nov 28, 2018

Climate change threatens UN goal to end global hunger by 2030

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The UN target for eliminating global hunger by 2030 looks increasingly unlikely after three years of backsliding, with fragile food systems facing challenges that range from political instability to climate change.

The big picture: About 820 million people, or 10.9% of the global population, are malnourished, per a UN Food and Agricultural Organization world hunger report. That's up from 784 million in 2015. Demand for food is expected to double between 2013 and 2050.

Why it matters: “The call for action is very clear. It is possible in our lifetime and it is also realistic to end hunger and malnutrition,” said Zambian Vice President Inonge Wina at the UN conference today, per AP.

Driving the news: Countries that are more exposed to climate variability have higher rates of malnutrition than those that don't, the report says.

  • The number of people facing "'crisis' levels of acute food insecurity or worse" increased from 80 to 124 million people from 2015 to 2017.
  • "The majority of people most vulnerable to climate shocks and natural hazards are the world’s 2.5 billion small-scale farmers, herders, fishers and forest-dependent communities."
  • "The number of extreme climate-related disasters, including extreme heat, droughts, floods and storms, has doubled since the early 1990s, with an average of 213 of these events occurring every year during the period of 1990–2016."

The bottom line: "Population growth requires supplies of more nutritious food at affordable prices, but increasing farm output is hard given the 'fragility of the natural resource base' since humans have outstripped Earth’s carrying capacity in terms of land, water and climate change," AP reported.

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Clyburn: Sanders' "socialist" label will be "extra burden" in House races

Clyburn with Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said on ABC's "This Week" Sunday that Sen. Bernie Sanders' identification as a democratic socialist may be an "extra burden" in down-ballot House races if he were to win the Democratic nomination.

Why it matters: Clyburn's comments echo fears from many establishment Democrats, who worry the House majority they won in 2018 by taking moderate seats carried by President Trump could be at risk with Sanders at the top of the ticket.

O'Brien rejects intelligence report of Russia effort to re-elect Trump

National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. Photo: Chris Usher/CBS via Getty Images

White House national security adviser Robert O'Brien repeatedly rejected on ABC's "This Week" an assessment from a congressional briefing led by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election to help President Trump get re-elected.

Why it matters: The report put the Trump administration under fresh scrutiny in regard to steps it has been taking to combat the kind of interference that the U.S. encountered in 2016.

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Italy becomes site of largest coronavirus outbreak outside of Asia

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus has spread to more nations as South Korea and Italy step up emergency measures in their countries amid rising case numbers on Sunday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has killed at least 2,462 people and infected almost 79,000 others, mostly in mainland China. South Korea increased the infectious disease alert to red, the highest possible, as its case numbers jumped to 602 and the death toll to five. Italy's government announced emergency measures as it confirmed a spike from three to 132 cases in matter of days, making it the largest outbreak outside of Asia.

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