Rohingya Muslim refugees run to receive food FRED DUFOUR/AFP/Getty Images

Is Global Warming Making Us Hungrier?

After achieving dramatic gains against hunger and famine, the world runs the risk of backsliding, owing to poorly considered choices. But if we accept the claim that climate change is to blame for a recent uptick in global hunger and malnutrition, we also risk embracing the costliest and least effective solutions.

PRAGUE – For more than a decade, annual data showed global hunger to be on the decline. But that has changed: According to the latest data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) hunger affected 815 million people in 2016, 38 million more than 2015, and malnutrition is threatening millions.

Research from my think tank, Copenhagen Consensus, has long helped to focus attention and resources on the most effective responses to malnutrition, both globally and in countries like Haiti and Bangladesh. Unfortunately, there are worrying signs that the global response may be headed in the wrong direction.

The FAO blames the rise in hunger on a proliferation of violent conflicts and “climate-related shocks,” which means specific, extreme events like floods and droughts.

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