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928. Featured Pick Up Articles of 2023

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928. Featured Pick Up Articles of 2023


In today's edition of Pick Up, we revisit key topics from 2023, delving into critical issues such as global food security, climate change, and several other noteworthy topics. Our focus is shaped by the most influential articles that garnered significant attention throughout the year, providing a comprehensive look back at these pressing issues.

1    773. El Niño Phenomenon Outlook for 2023 https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/proc/blog/20230510

On May 3, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) released its outlook for the possible increasing impact of an El Niño event later this year. The El Niño event has the potential to push global temperatures even higher, with an impact that contrasts with the weather and climate patterns that La Niña has brought in recent years.

2    820. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023: Global Hunger Still Far Above Pre-Pandemic Levels  https://www.jircas.go.jp/en/program/proc/blog/20230714         

According to this report, it is estimated that between 691 and 783 million worldwide faced hunger in 2022. The hungry population remains far above the level before the COVID-19 pandemic, increasing by 122 million people in 2022 compared to 2019 (considering the mid-range of around 735 million), and affected 9.2% of the population in 2022 compared to 7.9% in 2019.  

3    796. Research on Asparagopsis Cultivation Contributes to Methane Gas Reduction

Methane gas contained in the burps of cattle and sheep is one of the greenhouse gases and is thought to have a significant impact on the climate. Recently, it has been shown that feeding Asparagopsis taxiformis, a red seaweed, to cattle and sheep can significantly suppress methane fermentation in the ruminal microorganisms. In 2014, a 98.9% suppression of methanogenesis was reported by the addition of the Asparagopsis seaweed to cattle feed in an experiment to test the potential of seaweeds for ruminal methane reduction under in vitro conditions.

4    823. Global Multidimensional Poverty Index 2023

According to the report, 1.1 billion of the 6.1 billion people live in extreme poverty. Half of these people live in sub-Saharan Africa and a third in South Asia, hence five out of six poor people are living in sub-Saharan Africa or South Asia. Half of the poor are children under the age of 18, with child poverty rate at 27.7%, adult poverty rate at 13.4%, and 84% of the poor live in rural areas.

5    792. May 2023 World Food Price Index

The May 2023 value averaged 124.3 points, down 3.4 points (2.6%) from the previous month and 35.4 points (22.1%) lower than the all-time high reached a year ago in March 2022. The decline in May reflected sharp falls in vegetable oil, cereal, and dairy price indexes, although some of the decline was offset by higher sugar and meat prices.

6    810. Global Deforestation in 2022

On June 27, Global Forest Watch, operated by the World Resources Institute (WRI), reported that the pace of deforestation accelerated in 2022. Based on the report, 4.1 million hectares of tropical primary forest were lost in 2022, roughly the size of Switzerland and equivalent to the loss of 11 football fields of forest every minute, and this loss produced the same amount of greenhouse gas emissions as India's annual emissions.

7    802.  Increasing Risk of Flash Drought

Droughts usually occur over a period of years or decades, but in recent years there has been an increase in flash droughts, which are droughts that rapidly increase in intensity over a period of weeks or months. A study has found that the risk of flash droughts is expected to increase globally under all climate change scenarios, and particularly under extreme emissions scenarios of increased fossil fuel use, with increased risk in North America (32% to 49%) and Europe (32% to 53%), among other regions, between 2015 and 2100. The authors noted that the risk is expected to increase globally.

8    817. World Population Day 2023

Understanding the possible patterns of future population levels and the demographics of individual countries and regions is critical to maintaining food and nutrition security and to considering international development issues and climate change solutions. The United Nations estimates that the world's population will reach 8 billion by 2022, while India is expected to overtake China as the world's most populous country by early 2023, a position it has long held. 

9    774. Global Report on Food Crises 2023

The report estimates that in 2023, 258 million people in 58 food-insecure countries and territories were acutely food insecure (IPC/CH Phase 3 or higher) and in need of immediate food assistance in 2022. This is the highest number in the seven-year history of the GRFC. In 2021, the number was estimated at 193 million people in 53 countries/territories.

10    782. Global Temperatures in the Next 5 Years Likely to be 1.5°C Above Pre-industrial Level for One Year

On May 17, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) announced announced that the average temperature is likely to exceed 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels in at least one year during the five-year period 2023-2027. While noting that the projections do not imply that the temperature will exceed 1.5°C permanently, the WMO expressed concern about the enormous impacts on human health, food security, water and the environment that would result from an increasing likelihood of exceeding 1.5°C, even temporarily.

The rest in the top 20 are as follows:
11    853. Global Trends in Forest Fires and Wildfires
12    897. El Niño Persists Until April 2024
13    859. Six Out of Nine Planetary Boundaries are in Dangerous Territory
14    845. Understanding Desert Locust Behavior to Avoid Cannibalism During Molting - Advancing Eco-Friendly Pest Control Strategies
15    757. UN World Water Development Report 2023: Partnerships and Cooperation for Water
16    838. Multiple Indicators of Global Temperature Reach New Highs
17    769. Are Animal Products Friend or Foe?
18    816. June 2023 World Food Price Index
19    819. World Hunger Status and Outlook
20    758. Towards Establishing Effective Farmyard Manure Application in Nutrient-poor Soils in Africa


The keywords that stood out in these top 20 articles were El Niño phenomenon and rising global temperatures (4 articles), poverty, food crisis, and hunger (4 articles), and deforestation and wildfires (2 articles).

The El Niño phenomenon is a natural phenomenon that raises sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, but the double whammy of climate change caused by human activity is almost certain to make 2023 the hottest year on record. Next year could be even hotter.

Deforestation and wildfires were also common this year, with the worst wildfire in history observed in Canada and another tragedy reported in Hawaii. Climate change is thought to be a factor exacerbating wildfire conditions, and under extreme heat waves, greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires may be exacerbating climate change, creating a "fire-climate feedback loop The possibility has been raised that a "fire-climate feedback loop" may be emerging under extreme heat waves, in which greenhouse gas emissions from forest fires exacerbate climate change. While anthropogenic economic activities also cause deforestation, this year's JIRCAS International Symposium focused on tropical forests in Asia and discussed innovations in tropical forest resource management and institutions that can be applied in practice to realize the coexistence of environmental conservation and sustainable industry.

It is repeated shocks that are causing food insecurity. Conflicts, insecurity, economic shocks, and extreme weather events are interrelated and reinforcing; the main factors in 2022 include the impact of the protracted new coronavirus, the spillover from the war in Ukraine, and multiple cycles of drought and extreme weather events. The soaring cost of living is undermining efforts to eradicate poverty amidst Russia's never-ending invasion of Ukraine and ongoing conflicts in the Middle East. The international community needs to work together toward world peace.

Contributors: KANAMORI Norihito (Information and Public Relations Office) and IIYAMA Miyuki (Information Program)

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