Global carbon tax could heighten world hunger by 2050

1st August 2018

Web indiahunger shutterstock 1034602282

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Agriculture ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Scarcity



A worldwide carbon tax could lead to far more hunger and food insecurity by 2050 than otherwise would have occurred as a result of climate change, a first-of-its-kind study has found.

It shows that inflated food prices caused by a carbon tax on agriculture could leave up to 170 million more people at risk of hunger, with those in India and sub-Saharan Africa among the most vulnerable.

That is far more than the 50 million that climate change could put at risk, with the researchers warning that mitigation policies must consider more than just reducing emissions.

Study lead author and researcher at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Tomoko Hasegawa, said the findings also suggest that the agriculture sector should receive special treatment.

“Carbon pricing schemes will not bring any viable options for developing countries where there are highly vulnerable populations,” she continued. “Mitigation in agriculture should instead be integrated with development policies.”

The researchers stressed that their results should not be used to argue against greenhouse gas emissions reduction efforts, but show the importance of smart, targeted policy design.

They suggest that schemes encourage more productive and resilient agricultural systems, simultaneously reducing greenhouse gas emissions, cutting poverty and boosting economic growth and food security.

Another suggestion is complementary policies to counteract the impact of mitigation on vulnerable regions, such as using the money from carbon taxes for food aid programs.

The research shows that, without careful planning, the burden of mitigation policies is “simply too great”, and that any type carbon tax or a comprehensive emission trading system on agriculture would raise the cost of food production.

“As agriculture is more and more directly associated with the discussion on global mitigation efforts, we hope the paper will show that differentiated solutions need to be found for this sector,” study co-author, Hugo Valin, said.

“As countries are all working at defining emission reduction pathways within the context of the Paris Agreement, it serves as a warning that other development objectives should be kept in mind to choose the right path towards sustainability.”

Image credit: Shutterstock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Weather damage insurance claims hit record high

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

The Scottish government has today conceded that its goal to reduce carbon emissions by 75% by 2030 is now “out of reach” following analysis by the Climate Change Committee (CCC).

18th April 2024

Read more

The Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi) has issued a statement clarifying that no changes have been made to its stance on offsetting scope 3 emissions following a backlash.

16th April 2024

Read more

While there is no silver bullet for tackling climate change and social injustice, there is one controversial solution: the abolition of the super-rich. Chris Seekings explains more

4th April 2024

Read more

One of the world’s most influential management thinkers, Andrew Winston sees many reasons for hope as pessimism looms large in sustainability. Huw Morris reports

4th April 2024

Read more

Alex Veitch from the British Chambers of Commerce and IEMA’s Ben Goodwin discuss with Chris Seekings how to unlock the potential of UK businesses

4th April 2024

Read more

Regulatory gaps between the EU and UK are beginning to appear, warns Neil Howe in this edition’s environmental legislation round-up

4th April 2024

Read more

Five of the latest books on the environment and sustainability

3rd April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close