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The FAO Food Price Index is a measure of the monthly change in international prices of a basket of food commodities. | The FAO Food Commodity Price Indices show changes in monthly international prices of major food commodities. ©
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:: Egypt and Tunisia: The first climate revolutions

“Bread and Freedom” said the insurgents’ many posters in Cairo and Tunis. The hunger of millions of people and rising food prices were undoubtedly among the triggers of both revolutions. One of the main causes of hunger is climate change and the weather extremes that precede it, a fact which climatologists have been predicting for years.

Drought all over Africa, fire in half of Russia, disastrous floods in Australia, Pakistan and Latin America. The signs are increasing. 2010 was the hottest year since 1870. All this resulted in enormous crop losses.


Food prices are rising worldwide, as the number of people suffering from starvation does. In Arabia, hunger, misery on the labour market of the many young people and the yearning for freedom have strengthened the desire for revolt.


The FAO (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the UN) food price index has reached an all-time high at the beginning of this year. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman was the first economist to point out in the New York Times the connection between climate change and the revolutions in North Africa.


Worldwide, weather extremes led to heat waves and a fall in crop yields – especially in the poor countries. The United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, too, believes that worldwide crop yields – taking into account the increasing population in 2010/2011 – have fallen by 5.1 % in comparison with the previous year.


Food prices are rising in parallel with environmental disasters. Experts expect food prices to continue to rise in 2011. This could entail further revolts.


At the moment, we are experiencing how quickly food riots are combining with the calls for more democracy and freedom. In the year of drought 2008, there were food riots in more than 30 countries worldwide.


© Franz Alt 2011

Übersetzung: Andrea Polak 2011

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