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«Weckruf» der Uno

Schwere Umweltschäden durch weggeworfene Lebensmittel

Auslandnachrichten Heute, 17:34
Ein französischer Rentner (87) sucht neben einem Supermarkt in Nizza nach weggeworfenen Nahrungsmitteln. (Aufnahme vom Juni 2013)
Ein französischer Rentner (87) sucht neben einem Supermarkt in Nizza nach weggeworfenen Nahrungsmitteln. (Aufnahme vom Juni 2013) (Bild: Reuters)
Die Verschwendung von Nahrungsmittel hat weltweit ein absurdes Ausmass angenommen. Ein Bericht der Uno nennt Zahlen und zeichnet ein düsteres Bild der Konsequenzen für die Umwelt. Dennoch leiden weiterhin viele Menschen an Hunger.

(dpa/afp/Reuters) Ein Drittel der weltweit produzierten Nahrungsmittel geht jedes Jahr verloren. Gemäss einem Bericht der Uno werden jährlich 1,3 Milliarden Tonnen Lebensmittel verschwendet. Entweder weil sie schon während der Produktion verloren gehen, oder weil sie später nicht konsumiert und weggeworfen werden.

Der Wert der vergeudeten Lebensmittel entspreche dem Bruttoinlandprodukt der Schweiz, sagte José Graziano da Silva, Generaldirektor der Uno-Organisation für Ernährung und Landwirtschaft (FAO), in Rom. Der Verlust koste die Weltwirtschaft jährlich 700 Milliarden Franken.

Folgen der Verschwendung

Die FAO präsentierte gemeinsam mit dem Uno-Umweltprogramm (Unep) am Mittwoch in Rom und Nairobi den Bericht «Folgen der Nahrungsmittelverschwendung: Auswirkungen auf die Naturressourcen».

Gemäss der Studie verbraucht die Produktion von Lebensmitteln, die später nicht verzehrt werden, jährlich etwa 250 Kubikkilometer Wasser. Das entspricht dem fünffachen Volumen des Bodensees. Zudem entstünden bei der Herstellung jährlich Treibhausgase, die der Wirkung von 3,3 Milliarden Tonnen Kohlendioxid entsprächen.

Ein pakistanisches Mädchen sucht auf einer Abfallhalde bei Islamabad nach Nützlichem. (Aufnahme vom Februar 2013)

870 Millionen Hungernde

Zusätzlich zu den Folgen für die Umwelt sei diese Verschwendung auch moralisch nicht vertretbar: «Wir können es nicht zulassen, dass ein Drittel der Nahrungsmittel, die wir produzieren, verschwendet wird oder verloren geht, während täglich 870 Millionen Menschen hungern», kritisierte Graziano da Silva.

Achim Steiner, der Leiter des Umweltprogramms Unep, sprach von einem «Weckruf» und warnte vor allem vor den langfristigen Kosten der Verschwendung, die nachfolgende Generationen zu tragen hätten. Die Verschwendung zu verringern, habe ein «enormes Potenzial», um Hunger in der Welt zu bekämpfen.

Im FAO-Bericht werden vor allem die hochentwickelten Staaten in Asien – China, Südkorea und Japan – kritisiert. Dort werden jährlich pro Kopf fast 200 Kilogramm Obst, Gemüse und Getreide verschwendet. Im Fokus stehen auch die Fleischindustrie in Nord- und Lateinamerika und die Verschwendung von Obst und Gemüse, von der auch Europa betroffen ist.

Haltbarkeit und Verfallsdatum

«Jedem von uns kommt eine Rolle zu», sagte Steiner weiter. Das fange schon bei dem «lächerlichen Phänomen» in Industrieländern an, kein krummes Gemüse mehr zu kaufen. Ausserdem werde in vielen Ländern das Mindest-Haltbarkeitsdatum als Verfallsdatum missverstanden. Das führt dazu, dass viele Lebensmittel weggeworfen werden, die noch geniessbar sind.

Weltweit geschehen 54 Prozent der Nahrungsmittelverschwendung nach Angaben des Uno-Berichts bereits während der Produktion, der Nachernte und der Lagerung. 46 Prozent ereigneten sich bei der Weiterverarbeitung, der Auslieferung und dem Konsum.

Mehr zum Thema «Schwere Umweltschäden durch weggeworfene Lebensmittel»

http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/international/auslandnachrichten/schwere-umweltschaeden-durch-weggeworfene-lebensmittel-1.18148710

Lebensmittel

50 Prozent landen im Abfall

Panorama Donnerstag, 10. Januar, 18:26

(sda/afp) Bis zu 50 Prozent der weltweiten Lebensmittelproduktion landen laut einer Studie wegen falscher Lagerung und übertriebenen Konsums im Müll. Von den jährlich produzierten vier Milliarden Tonnen an Lebensmitteln würden 30 bis 50 Prozent gar nicht gegessen.

Das bemängelte die in London ansässige Institution of Mechanical Engineers am Donnerstag in ihrem Bericht. «Das ist Essen, das verwendet werden könnte, um die wachsende Weltbevölkerung zu ernähren – ebenso wie die heute Hungernden», sagte der Leiter der Abteilung Energie und Umwelt des Instituts, Tim Fox.

Die Gründe für die massenhafte Lebensmittelverschwendung lägen zum einen in falschen landwirtschaftlichen Methoden und mangelhaften Lager- und Transportmöglichkeiten, hiess es in dem Bericht.

Zum anderen akzeptierten Supermärkte nur «kosmetisch perfekte Lebensmittel» und ermunterten ihre Kunden durch «Zwei zum Preis für eins«-Angebote zum übertriebenen Konsum. In Europa und den USA würden die Konsumenten schätzungsweise die Hälfte der von ihnen gekauften Lebensmittel letztlich wegschmeissen.

«Unnötige Verschwendung«

Essbares wegzuschmeissen sei «eine unnötige Verschwendung von Land, Wasser und Energieressourcen, die in der Produktion, Verarbeitung und Verteilung dieser Lebensmittel genutzt wurden», kritisierte Fox. So werden seinem Institut zufolge weltweit 550 Milliarden Kubikmeter Wasser verschwendet für Ernteerträge, die nie verzehrt werden.

Das britische Institut hob hervor, dass sich die Lage angesichts der wachsenden Weltbevölkerung weiter verschärfen werde. So gehe die UNO davon aus, dass bis 2075 rund 9,5 Milliarden Menschen die Erde bevölkerten und ernährt werden wollten.

«Da Wasser, Land und Energieressourcen durch rivalisierende Bedürfnisse der Menschen zunehmend unter Druck geraten, müssen Ingenieure eine entscheidende Rolle bei der Verhinderung von Lebensmittelverlusten und -verschwendung spielen, indem sie effizientere Verfahren bei Anbau, Transport und Lagerung von Lebensmitteln entwickeln», hiess es in dem Bericht.

Dafür müssten aber auch die Regierungen sowie Organisationen wie die UNO für einen Mentalitätswandel bei Landwirten, Lebensmittelherstellern, Supermärkten und Konsumenten sorgen.

http://www.nzz.ch/aktuell/panorama/50-prozent-landen-im-muell-1.17932410

 

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Finding Food Security in Climate-changing Oceans

By Matthew Berger | July 16, 2013

In early June, the United Nations held its fifth annual World Oceans Day. While many recent efforts have focused on finding ways to address the food needs of a growing human population affected by climate change, the majority of this work has revolved around terrestrial food production. Much less attention has been devoted to adapting marine food production to a new climate. Perhaps that is why this year’s World Oceans Day theme was “oceans and people.”

oceans-security-1Andrew Hudson, Head of the UN Development Program (UNDP)’s Water and Ocean Governance Program, speaking at a press conference on the impacts of climate change on ocean ecosystems, in February 2012. (UN Photo/Paulo Filgueiras)

“From trade to food to climate regulation, the oceans are integral to all of humanity. This is particularly so for coastal dwellers whose income and culture are irrevocably bound to the sea,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in commemorating the day. “If we are to fully benefit from the oceans, we must reverse the degradation of the marine environment due to pollution, overexploitation and acidification.”

One in six people receive most of the protein in their diets from the oceans, which are facing unprecedented threats as carbon emissions rise. Food insecurity among those who depend upon seafood as a critical part of their diets is expected to increase along with carbon emissions. Meanwhile, overfishing, low-oxygen dead zones and coastal degradation are complicating matters. UN agencies and other organizations are scrambling to grasp the scope of how climate change is affecting oceans and what can be done to mitigate its implications for food security. 

In Hot Water

On land, excessive emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have led to more frequent droughts, heat waves, severe weather eventslonger warm seasons and warmer high elevations. Yet in the oceans, these emissions have had two main effects: warmer surface waters and more acidic water.

oceans-security-4A photo from the “Oceans” photography exhibition currently on display at the United Nations in New York. ©Monica Schipper Photography.

Just as air temperatures have been rising on average, temperatures of the ocean’s surface waters have been increasing. This has led to more stratification between the warmer surface waters and colder, deeper waters. Such a trend is expected to continue, according to a study published last year in the Journal of Geophysical Research, with an “increasing degree of decoupling between the surface and the deeper oceans, with important consequences for many biogeochemical processes.”

One of the most important processes this “decoupling” could affect is the upwelling of cold, nutrient-rich waters from the depths to the upper waters where most sea life feed and live. The authors of that 2012 study noted that some of the largest stratification changes are occurring at and affecting this crucial upwelling process in some of the planet’s most productive fishing grounds.

“Thus, the projected stratification changes could have a large impact on phytoplankton and the broader food web,” the study concluded.

Alarming Acidification

But carbon emissions are impacting the food web even more directly—and rapidly—through ocean acidification. Oceans absorb about half the carbon emitted into the atmosphere, some of which then forms carbonic acid. As the oceans’ acidity increases, shell-forming organisms—from tiny plankton to oysters and corals—find it increasingly difficult to build the carbonate shells they need to survive. These organisms are being impacted by climate change, as are the animals that eat them and the people eating those animals.

Already, oceans have become 30 percent more acidic since the start of the Industrial Revolution, and they could become 150 percent more acidic by the end of the century. A study last year found only one point in the past 300 million years when oceans changed at the rate they are today—a period about 56 million years ago when atmospheric carbon doubled over roughly 5,000 years, leading to extinctions among both animals unable to form carbonate shells and animals that depended upon them.

oceans-security-2A view of the General Assembly Hall in December 2012, as the Assembly adopted a wide-ranging resolution on “oceans and the law of the sea,” emphasizing sustainable development and the maintenance of biodiversity in marine ecosystems. (UN Photo/Ryan Brown)

The researchers estimated that ocean pH may have fallen by as much 0.45 units over that period. Today, pH has fallen by 0.1 units in just the past 100 years, which that study’s authors said is at least 10 times faster than the acidification that took place 56 million years ago.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has projected that acidification could drop pH levels by another 0.3 to 0.4 units by the year 2100. Indeed, the science of ocean acidification is all the more distressing because of how robust and precise it is.

According to Andrew Hudson, head of the water and ocean governance program at the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), “[Atmospheric] climate models can only go so far; that is not the case with ocean acidification. We know exactly how much is going in and what sort of impact it is having.”

No Easy Solutions

The impact of that acidification on humans is harder to forecast. Still, it is clear that shellfish and animals dying off at the bottom of the food chain—or fish populations relocating to follow shifting warmer waters—will have repercussions all the way up to humans.

If fish populations in the North Atlantic move to more northern or deeper waters, and new species previously unknown that far north move in, North American and European fishing fleets would likely have the capacity and money to adapt through new gears or vessels. Similarly, if, say, Pacific Northwest oyster farmers feel the pinch of more acidic waters ruining their crops of seed oysters—as is already happening—they would likely be able to grudgingly afford to adapt by adding an antacid to their waters.

oceans-security-3A photo from the “Oceans” photography exhibition currently on display at the United Nations in New York. ©Monica Schipper Photography.

However, the majority of the one in six people who depend most heavily upon fish and shellfish for their diets are some of the poorest on the planet. Their ability to adapt to changing waters and fish populations will be severely constrained.

report last fall by the nonprofit group Oceana ranked countries based on the threat that carbon emissions pose to their ocean-based food security by looking at countries’ dependence upon seafood, the vulnerability of their local waters to acidification and warming, and their capacity to adapt to these changes.

The island nation Comoros ranked as the most threatened, followed by Togo, and then two more island nations—Cook Islands and Kiribati. Among major countries, Pakistan and Thailand ranked as the eighth and 10th most threatened. China ranked 35th.

The report notes that while some regions will see increases in fish numbers, “losses of up to 40 percent of catch potential can be expected in the tropics. Nations without large industrialized fishing fleets will be unlikely to follow these shifting resources around the world.”

What can be done to help seafood-dependent nations mitigate or adapt to warmer, more acidic seas? “It’s pretty cut and dry,” said UNDP’s Hudson. “The only viable option right now is to reduce emissions.”

Glimmers of Hope

Although the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) process aiming to reduce emissions has been slow, the UN community has been tackling the impacts of carbon emissions on ocean-based food security in various ways, with glimmers of hope.

Last November, UNDP issued a report with the Global Environment Facility that argued that $5 billion in public investment would catalyze enough action and additional public and private investment to reverse marine degradation, including that caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

Meanwhile, UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission has been taking a leading role in assessing the impacts of climate change on oceans, including working with developing countries to craft adaptation strategies. And just last month, the General Assembly’s informal consultative process on oceans, which identifies areas on which international cooperation should be increased, made ocean acidification its topic for the first time, a development that UNDP’s Hudson praised.

“It’s a start, but only the beginning,” Hudson said, reiterating that “ultimately, we cannot slow down ocean acidification without cutting emissions.” That four-day blitz of acidification presentations and discussions followed World Oceans Day.

In calling global attention to reversing oceanic degradation, the Secretary-General also urged countries to join the Law of the Sea—the United States and a handful of other countries remain the only holdouts. Doing so could provide some legal frameworks for addressing ocean acidification and other contributors to the destruction of marine environments on which billions of people depend.

http://www.theinterdependent.com/environment/article/finding-food-security-in-climate-changing-oceans

– See more at: http://www.theinterdependent.com/environment/article/finding-food-security-in-climate-changing-oceans#sthash.FwNSu0uq.dpuf

 

MDG : MGO in Ghana : Farmers and MG : Single Mothers Association sweep rice

Women sweep rice at a processing plant in the northern Ghanaian town of Bolgatanga. Photograph: Finbarr O’Reilly /Reuters

The US embassy in Accra held a roundtable on biotechnology this month. The discussion, designed to promote candid dialogue between biotechnology supporters and sceptics, was attended by experts and campaign groups on both sides of the GM foods debate.

But one Ghanaian campaign group refused the invitation. “Our call for a moratorium on GM foods was met with an invitation to a closed-door discussion,” said Duke Tagoe, of Food Sovereignty Ghana, which campaigns for greater transparency about GM foods. “We are deeply worried about what seems like an imposition of genetically modified foods on the good people of Ghana without any meaningful public discourse, compounded by attempts to stifle any opposition.”

Food Sovereignty Ghana and other domestic organisations accuse the US and other foreign donors of promoting GM foods to west African countries, and tying aid to implementation.

According to a leaked cable, the US government was heavily involved in drafting Ghana’s 2011 Biosafety Act, which provided a framework for the introduction of GM foods. The US aid department provided technical assistance and some funding.

The cable said biotech products were being sold in Ghana and GM seeds from neighbouring countries were likely to have migrated over its borders. US companies have begun requesting permission to conduct trials.

The US embassy in Accra declined to respond to a request by the Guardian to comment on its stance on GM food in Ghana, but claims about the arrival of GM are supported by public officials.

MDG : Ghana : Food Sovereignty Ghana Deputy Chairperson Duke TagoeDuke Tagoe of Food Sovereignty Ghana. Photograph: Joy News TV”GM foods are used in agriculture. This is something you cannot wish away because it has come and it is in practice,” said John Odame Darkwa, acting chief executive officer of Ghana’s Food and Drugs Authority (FDA). “We ensure that any food imported into the country is safe.”

But campaigners say trials of GM foods, which the FDA admits have been carried out in Ghana, are a violation of the law, which states trials require the written approval of a new body, the National Biosafety Authority. The problem, they say, is that this authority does not exist yet.

“Trials are being conducted, but there isn’t any framework in place,” said Kweku Dadzie, from Food Sovereignty Ghana. “We are calling for a ban on the importation, cultivation, consumption and sale of genetically modified foods and crops, until the people of Ghana are satisfied that such an important and irrevocable decision is a sound and proper one to make.”

Dadzie points to a lack of public debate surrounding the passing of the Biosafety Act. Maxwell Kofi Jumah, MP for Asokwa, recently admitted on local radio that ministers lacked understanding of the issues.

Many opponents of GM crops have pointed to the role of multinational companies that sell GM “hybrid” seeds that do not self-pollinate, compelling farmers to buy new seeds from the same companies each year, as well as their pesticides and herbicides.

Tagoe said: “Farmers in Ghana have had their own way of keeping seeds year after year. If these policies are allowed to manifest, Ghanaian farmers will have to change money into foreign [currency] in order to purchase seeds from overseas firms. The economic impact on the lives of the farmers will be disastrous. The origin of food is seed. Whoever controls the seed controls the entire food chain. These seeds are not owned by any African entity, they are owned by American companies.”

However, experts say there are advantages to the technology. The chief executive of CGIAR Consortium on agricultural research, Dr Frank Rijsberman, said: “Private companies could develop self-pollinating seeds that also provide higher yields, but they don’t because it’s not profitable.

“But at the same time, the quality of seeds that pollinate themselves is often not that great. It can be difficult for farmers to select the best seeds. The job of seed companies is to select seeds that will have a bigger yields. The best hybrid rice, for example, produce about 20% better yields than the best self-pollinating seeds.”

Some say that, instead of looking at yield increases through GM, the focus should be on improving access to markets for the crops that are already being grown by greater investment in extension services and low-technology improvements in farming.

“There is huge potential to increase yields using low-cost and existing technologies,” said Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development, speaking at the Africa Agricultural Science Week in Accra last week. “In Africa, only about 6% of the total cultivated land is irrigated … It is estimated that irrigation alone could increase output by up to 50% in Africa.

“Small increases in fertiliser use in sub-Saharan Africa can produce dramatic improvements in yields. Post-harvest grain losses in sub-Saharan Africa average $4bn every year. This is food that could meet the nutritional needs of around 48 million people.”

Rijsberman said farmers needed better seeds, but also required better access to inputs, access to markets, farming systems and livelihood strategies. “These things would go a long way to improving yields and incomes in a country like Ghana,” he added.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2013/jul/24/gm-crops-ghana-us-genetically-modified-food#start-of-comments