Knowledge for better food systems

Food among top perceived global systemic risks

This report from global network Future Earth identifies the risks perceived by scientists to be most likely to lead to a global systemic crisis. Most of the scientists interviewed mentioned at least four of the five following risks: food, climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and water. 

The diagram below from the report shows risks that were said to have synergistic effects, i.e. they make each other worse. The thicker the line between two risks, the more respondents indicated that those two risks have a synergistic connection.

The diagram below ranks the risks by their perceived impact and likelihood.

Read the full report, Future Earth Risks Perceptions Report 2020, here. See also the Foodsource chapter Impacts of climatic and environmental change on food systems.


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While some of the food system challenges facing humanity are local, in an interconnected world, adopting a global perspective is essential. Many environmental issues, such as climate change, need supranational commitments and action to be addressed effectively. Due to ever increasing global trade flows, prices of commodities are connected through space; a drought in Romania may thus increase the price of wheat in Zimbabwe.

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