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Food security for a planet under pressure. Transition to sustainability: interconnected challenges and solutions.
[Durban, South Africa, University of KwaZula-Natal, Health Economics and HIV / AIDS Research Division], 2012.  p. (Rio + 20 Policy Brief)The challenge of feeding the world efficiently and equitably is considerable, but not insurmountable. Achieving food security for all, both now and in the future, depends on putting in place a strong foundation of multi-lateral and cooperative mechanisms that work across disciplines, sectors and national boundaries. Institutions operating effectively at multiple levels will be at the centre of sustainable food systems; these will need to be flexible, promote appropriate use of innovative technologies and policies, and recognize the increasingly important role of non-state actors in enhancing food systems. Above all, there is need for a strong focus on resilience, equity and sustainability. This brief sets out broad guidelines to help policy and decision makers work towards adopting a more coordinated and integrated approach to food security issues.
WASHINGTON POST. 1990 Dec 30; C2.Deforestation for fuel wood was on the rise again after 1973 oil price increases. Between 1976-86, the use of wood for fuel increased 35%. In 1987, 50% of the world's population were using wood for cooking and heating. 1.7 cubic meters/year of wood are burned. The energy use equivalent in oil would be 21 million barrels of oil/day. The example is given of Costa Ricans return to wood use from electric stoves after the oil price increases of 1979. Current high oil prices again can only mean greater wood use. The tobacco and tea industry have also switched to wood and then to dry products due to oil price increases. Past patterns of use coupled with increased population and higher inflation and debt means a greater impact. Deforestation for agricultural use in the 1990s is expected to be >370 million acres. 40-50 million acres/year are burned mostly for agricultural use, but the next largest use is for fuel wood. In the US, 20% of forests are used for fuel and the remainder for industry, while in developing countries, 95% of energy comes from biomass, usually wood. In India and China, animal and crop residues are used for fuel instead of for soil fertilization. Wood is also wasted to produce charcoal. Deforestation in Thailand may have resulted in a decrease in rainfall; erosion occurs when rain comes. Wood burning also contributes to increases in carbon dioxide which cause global warming. When plantings equal burnings, carbon levels remain constant. The present ration in Latin America is 10 trees cut to every 1 planted, in Asia the ratio is 5 to 1, in Africa 29 to 1. 1.5 billion people over cut forests, and 125 million either cannot find enough wood or cannot afford it; by 2000, 2.8 billion will be short of fuel wood. Biomass burning also contributes to buildup of methyl chloride, which adds chloride to the atmosphere and the destruction of the ozone layer. The amount released is estimated at 26% emitted by the Third World. Amazon forest burning should cease by 1995 and biomass burning reduced by 50% over the next 15-20 years. The return to wood means lower living standards. The hope is that technology will generate more efficient wood-burning stoves or replacement fuel.
WORLD WATCH. 1991 Sep-Oct; 4(5):22-30.This article examines the struggle between developed and developing countries when it comes to reducing energy consumption and limit carbon emissions, necessary steps for averting global warming. Negotiators from across the world have begun discussing the issue, hoping to come to an agreement by next June, when the UN Conference on Environment and Development will meet in Brazil. Disagreement centers around the question of who is responsible for the greenhouse effect and who will pay to fix the problem. The report discusses energy consumption and its effects, the cost of producing energy, and possible ways of eliminating energy waste -- especially as it relates to the 3rd world. Currently, the industrialized world (along with the USSR and Eastern Europe) account for 70% of all carbon emissions from fossil fuel consumption. Experts predict, however, that by the year 2025, the 3rd World will surpass the industrialized world in fossil fuel consumption. The author emphasizes the difference in energy use between the 2 regions: while people in developing countries burn wood and biomass to take care of basic necessities, much of the consumption in the developed world to goes towards luxuries and amenities. Inefficient power plants waste much of the energy consumed in the 3rd World. Although hundreds of billions of dollars could be saved annually by introducing energy-saving devices, skewed international lending, underpriced electricity, and the vested interests of the 3rd World industries work against such measures. The author explains that the technology necessary to significantly reduced carbon emissions already exists. Furthermore, 3rd World countries and most industrialized nations (with the exception of the US and the USSR) have agreed on the need to reduce carbon emissions.