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Washington, D.C.– Bread for the World welcomes the U.S. pledge of $3 billion made by President Barack Obama last weekend to enable developing countries’ economies to grow while also lowering their carbon emissions, thus slowing global climate change.
So far, 13 countries have pledged $7.5 billion to the Green Climate Fund (GCF) following the Group of 20 Summit last weekend in Brisbane, Australia. The biggest donors are the United States and Japan. The GCF is a multilateral trust fund that builds on previous climate change-related initiatives, such as the Climate Investment Funds (CIFs) spearheaded by President George W. Bush in 2008.
“Climate change is happening today; it is not a problem of the future. Around the world, it is threatening the gains that have been made toward ending hunger and malnutrition,” said Faustine Wabwire, senior foreign assistance policy analyst at Bread for the World Institute. “People who suffer from hunger and poverty are among those already feeling the impact of climate change.”
Studies show that due to climate change, the number of people at risk of hunger is projected to increase by 10 to 20 percent by 2050 and the prevalence of malnourished children to increase by 21 percent. “Global food security is inextricably interconnected with the use of such resources as water, energy, and land,” said Wabwire. “Climate change impacts all these resources, and this is why governments should support the Green Climate Fund.”
In many parts of the developing world, approximately 75 percent of the population lives in rural areas and depend on agriculture for their livelihood. While these regions have contributed the least to climate change in terms of the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced, they will continue to bear the brunt of the consequences of climate change.
Climate change is not just a problem of the developing world alone. The 2012 U.S. drought, which covered almost 62 percent of the land area of the 48 contiguous states, is said to be second in size only to the Dust Bowl of the 1930s. That same year, Superstorm Sandy wreaked havoc on the East Coast, costing about $30 billion in damages and killing more than 100 people.
“Our systems may allow us to bounce back from the effects of droughts, heat waves, floods, and wildfires now, but poor countries do not have the capacity to adapt to climate change,” said Wabwire. “Time is running out.”
Hunger and food insecurity add at least $160 billion a year to U.S. healthcare costs.
Mass incarceration has far-reaching effects in the United States. It poses a significant barrier to ending U.S. hunger and poverty by 2030—a goal the United States adopted in 2015. But the connection is not always obvious.
The United States has long been a global leader in responding to humanitarian emergencies. Food assistance that includes nutritious food for pregnant women and young children is both a life-and-death matter for individuals and an economic imperative for countries.
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