Countries emitting least C02 among world's most food insecure

6th August 2019

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Howard Dawes

Countries emitting the lowest levels of CO2 into the atmosphere are also most likely to suffer from climate-induced hunger, research from Christian Aid has uncovered.

A new report from the charity shows that Burundi is the nation with the highest levels of food insecurity in the world, but that it is also the lowest carbon emitter per capita.

Overall, the findings show that the top 10 most food insecure countries generate less than half a tonne of CO2 per person and just 0.08% of global carbon emissions.

The average UK citizen generates the same amount of carbon as 212 Burundians, a Russian 454, an American 581 and a Saudi 719, according to the research.

“Burundi is a living testament to the injustice of the climate crisis,“ Christian Aid's country director for Burundi, Philip Galgallo, said.

“Despite producing almost no carbon emissions, we find ourselves on the front line of climate change, suffering from higher temperatures, lower crop yields and increasingly unreliable rains.“

The report was published before scientists from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) meet in Geneva later this week, and they are expected to warn of the growing threat to food insecurity.

Christian Aid highlighted how Russia, Saudi Arabia and the US recently blocked the adoption of IPCC science reports at UN meetings while each having huge carbon footprints.

Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia are the highest CO2 emitters on a per capita basis, while Burundi, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Madagascar, Yemen and Sierra Leone are the lowest.

This comes after a study in the Lancet Planetary Health journal revealed last month that climate change could significantly reduce the availability of critical nutrients like protein and iron within 30 years.

“We need to see rapid and radical emissions reductions in richer, high emitting countries, ending the fossil-fuelled era forever,“ report author, Dr Doreen Stabinsky, said.

“Additionally, these countries need to provide financial support and new technology to help poorer countries to develop cleanly and become resilient to existing and future climate impacts.“

Image credit: iStock


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