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relates to Without Clearing Any New Farmland, We Could Feed Two Earths’ Worth of People

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Climate Adaptation

Without Clearing Any New Farmland, We Could Feed Two Earths’ Worth of People

Better supply chain organization, improved soil management, and a little creativity would yield lots more food without adding to emissions.

By the end of this year, 270 million people could be living in famine conditions, according to the United Nations World Food Programme, up from an already staggering 149 million before Covid-19. Add in the disruptive effects of climate change and our planet’s ever-increasing population, and we’re looking at difficult times ahead.

By 2050—the year when a growing list of nations aim to have zeroed out their contributions to climate change—the UN projects the global population will be 9.7 billion, on its way to topping out at 11 billion in 2100. The pressure to produce more food, or at least to make more money from agriculture, is driving nations to clear forests and wetlands for farms and divert scant freshwater to grow crops in the desert. But is that really necessary? Could we increase the food supply while also protecting precious wild resources?