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.

Go deeper

HBCUs are missing from the discussion on venture capital's diversity

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

Venture capital is beginning a belated conversation about its dearth of black investors and support of black founders, but hasn't yet turned its attention to the trivial participation of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) as limited partners in funds.

Why it matters: This increases educational and economic inequality, as the vast majority of VC profits go to limited partners.

Unemployment rate falls to 13.3% in May

Data: Bureau of Labor Statistics; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. unemployment rate fell to 13.3% in May, with 2.5 million jobs gained, the government said on Friday.

Why it matters: The far better-than-expected numbers show a surprising improvement in the job market, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic.

The difficulty of calculating the real unemployment rate

Data: U.S. Department of Labor; Note: Initial traditional state claims from the weeks of May 23 and 30, continuing traditional claims from May 23. Initial PUA claims from May 16, 23, and 30, continuing PUA and other programs from May 16; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The shocking May jobs report — with a decline in the unemployment rate to 13.3% and more than 2 million jobs added — destroyed expectations of a much worse economic picture.

Why it matters: Traditional economic reports have failed to keep up with the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and have made it nearly impossible for researchers to determine the state of the U.S. labor market or the economy.