Developed countries are still at risk when it comes to global climate, food and national security

In this podcast, ffinlo Costain interviews Caitlin Werrell, co-founder of the Centre for Climate and Security and Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti, the UK's former Climate, Energy and Security Envoy, to explore the relationship between climate change, the global food system and national security.
calendar icon 23 March 2020
clock icon 8 minute read

On the precipice

During her interview, Werrell emphasised that the developed world finds itself at a critical moment. If countries don’t seize the opportunity to prepare and climate-proof our food infrastructure, we will face a future of hard choices with no good options.

Morisetti also felt that agriculture and the global food system has entered uncharted territory. He explained that though food supplies have always fluctuated, today’s production margins have slimmed, and demand continues to skyrocket. Agriculture hasn’t adapted to a climate crisis future.

Climate change will force developed nations to reconsider the way they view weather-related risks. To illustrate this point, Werrell tells Costain that while wealthy countries can withstand one hurricane or major flood, their ability to withstand multiple disasters in quick succession is less certain. She also stresses that if weather-related catastrophes impact multiple production centres at once (floods in grain producing areas like the Mississippi Valley of the US or bushfires in Australia, for example), our ability to source food will be undermined.

In her view, the developed world isn’t immune from authoritarian responses when it comes to climate-related challenges. Morisetti agrees – highlighting that military organisations are often tasked with responding to escalating social tensions in the aftermath of food insecurity. He doesn’t believe that this management strategy is viable long-term. At some point, military organisations won’t be able to address these issues.

Though their analysis doesn’t make for an uplifting story, Werrell and Morisetti did end their interviews on a hopeful note. The developed world still has an opportunity to mitigate the worst effects of climate change, and technological innovation can make the agriculture sector more resilient. Acting now will allow us to develop practices and policies that alleviate climate risks. It will also let us avoid breakdowns in governance and respond to issues in a humanitarian way.

Listen to the full Farm Gate podcast here.

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Megan Howell

News Editor at Global Ag Media
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