Climate and War Combining for Global Food Crisis

July 22, 2022

Nothing happens in the world by itself. Everything is connected.
War does not exist separate from climate change, and both of them affect global food supplies.
We are skirting close to a perfect storm for global food – though it looks like there’s been a bit of a respite with a recent agreement to insure grain exports from war torn Ukraine’s bread basket.

Associated Press:

Russia and Ukraine signed separate agreements Friday with Turkey and the United Nations clearing the way for the export of millions of tons of desperately needed Ukrainian grain — as well as some Russian grain and fertilizer — across the Black Sea. The long-sought deal ends a wartime standoff that has threatened food security around the globe.

The U.N. plan will enable Ukraine — one of the world’s key breadbaskets — to export 22 million tons of grain and other agricultural goods that have been stuck in Black Sea ports due to Russia’s invasion. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres called it “a beacon of hope” for millions of hungry people who have faced huge increases in the price of food.

“A deal that allows grain to leave Black Sea ports is nothing short of lifesaving for people across the world who are struggling to feed their families,” said Red Cross Director-General Robert Mardini. He noted that over the past six months, prices for food have risen 187% in Sudan, 86% in Syria and 60% in Yemen, just to name a few countries.

Yet in Kyiv, Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba sounded a more somber note.

“I’m not opening a bottle of champagne because of this deal,” Kuleba told The Associated Press. “I will keep my fingers crossed that this will work, that ships will carry grain to world markets and prices will go down and people will have food to eat. But I’m very cautious because I have no trust in Russia.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy echoed Kuleba’s concerns in his nightly video address, saying, “It is clear to everyone that there may be some provocations on the part of Russia, some attempts to discredit Ukrainian and international efforts. But we trust the UN.”

The European Union and the U.K. immediately welcomed the news.

“This is a critical step forward in efforts to overcome the global food insecurity caused by Russia’s aggression against Ukraine,” said EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell.

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss applauded Turkey and the U.N. for brokering the agreement.

“We will be watching to ensure Russia’s actions match its words,” Truss said. “To enable a lasting return to global security and economic stability, (Russian President Vladimir) Putin must end the war and withdraw from Ukraine.”

Weather Underground founder Jeff Masters and I have been having conversations about the synergies between climate and global food supplies for a long time. One of those chats is below.

One Response to “Climate and War Combining for Global Food Crisis”


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