It's #WorldFoodDay

Much of our work at @OurWorldInData covers food & agriculture – it's central to many of the world's largest problems

Feeding everyone a nutritious diet in a sustainable way is one of our biggest challenges this century

Thread of some of our work on this 👇
No one in the world should go hungry.

Global hunger has declined massively over the long-term, but more than 1-in-10 (> 820M people) are undernourished.

This is unacceptable in a world where we produce more than enough for everyone.

Our work on hunger:…
Despite rapid population growth over the last century, famines have become much more rare.

Today they are largely the result of sociopolitical instability, war and inequality vs. a lack of food on aggregate.

@JoeHasell and @MaxCRoser's work on Famines:
Improvements in yields & increased food production mean food supply *per person* across the world has risen significantly over the last 50 years.

This is despite an increasing population.

Our work on food supply:
But it's not just food quantity that matters. It's also the quality.

For good health we need varied diets. Poorer countries tend to have a diet lacking variety and dominated by cereals. Diets diversify as we get richer.

Our work on Diet Compositions:…
Poor dietary diversity and lack of micronutrients can have severe health implications.

WHO estimates as many as 2 billion people suffer from hidden hunger.

Particularly detrimental for children and pregnant women.

Our work on micronutrient deficiency:…
As we get richer we tend to eat more meat.

Global meat consumption has increased 5-fold since 1960.

Meat & dairy is a key nutrition and income source for many. But it also comes with high environmental impacts.

Our work on Meat & Dairy Production:
Food is really the mother of sustainability issues.

→ Quarter of GHG emissions
→ 50% habitable land use
→ 70% freshwater
→ Largest driver of biodiversity loss

Our work on the Env impacts of food:…
Half of global habitable land is used for agriculture.

To reduce this we can:
1. Produce and eat less meat and dairy
2. Switch to more land-efficient animal products
3. Increase crop yields

Our work on land use:
Agriculture would take up much more land if we hadn't seen massive increases in yields across the world.

For me, increased yields has been one of our finest achievements.

Our work on Crop Yields:
Improved seed varieties, irrigation and various agricultural innovations led to this increase in crop yields.

But synthetic fertilisers have been absolutely key. It's estimated that half of the world population rely on them.

Our work on Fertilizers:
Our challenge in the coming years is to find combined solutions to these challenges: nutritious diets for everyone in the world whilst restoring the environment at the same time


@OurWorldInData will try to continue pulling together the best data & research on this to do our bit to get us there.

Many great minds across the world are working on these problems, and of course without them we would not be able to so. Thank you!

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More from @_HannahRitchie

25 Sep
"China uses more cement in 3 years than the US did in the entire 20th century".

I see this claim a lot & was curious if it stacked up against data on CO₂ emissions from cement.

So, some more back-of-the-envelope fact-checking below ↓↓

Spoiler: yes, seems to stack up Image
I'm using annual data on CO₂ from cement prod from @gcarbonproject & CDIAC. You can explore, compare countries, download from our CO₂ data explorer here: Image
My calcs:

CO₂ from cement in USA for entire 20th century = 1838 million tonnes

Annual CO₂ from cement in China (2018) = 781 million tonnes

China emits same in 2.4 years as US in 20th century.
Read 5 tweets
21 Sep
Important new paper published in @NatureFoodJnl. Looks at the impact of rising temperatures on 18 staple crops across the world.

A couple of interesting findings below ↓↓…
Yields tend to show inverse-U response to temp. Different countries lie on different parts of curve.

As expected, for most crops it's lower-lat, warmer countries that see negative response to temp rise.

Maps show response to 1°C rise (red = yield decline; blue = increase).

Some higher-latitude countries see yield increases across many crops.

Most crops show a yield decline globally. But there are a few exceptions: soybeans, sorghum, potatoes show yield increase nearly everywhere.

Useful to know for crop selection.

Read 4 tweets
16 Sep
A popular claim that our soils "only have 40/50/60 harvests left" gets repeated over & over.

Many have tried and failed to find a credible source for this.

A new paper sheds some light on quality of our soils [no, we do not only have 60 years left]… Image
The study highlights a few key points:
– most of our soils have a 'lifespan' much greater than this.
– poor soil quality is still a problem in some areas
– we can increase this soil quality with proper management practices.

This is one of the key paragraphs 👇 Image
Many have tried to find a credible source for the "only 60 years of harvest left" claim, and struggled to find one.

@Botanygeek previously wrote about this in the New Scientist:…
Read 4 tweets
8 Sep
When we look at the carbon footprint of diets we often overlook the 'opportunity cost' of how we could use the land if not for food production.

A new paper in @naturesustainab tries to quantify the 'opportunity cost' of producing meat and dairy.…
Half of the world's habitable land is used for agriculture. Three-quarters for livestock.

The paper looks at how much carbon we could sequester if everyone adopted the EAT-Lancet diet (which has some meat & dairy, but much less than the current Western diet) or a vegan diet. Image
It estimates that through ecosystem restoration we could sequester the equivalent of 9 years of fossil fuel emissions by 2050 on the EAT-Lancet diet.

Or 16 years of fossil emissions on the vegan diet.
Read 4 tweets
31 Aug
The new @exemplarshealth platform tries to learn from success stories across a range of health challenges.

In my latest @OurWorldInData post I apply this approach to identify countries that have been most successful in preventing maternal deaths.…
The motivation for this stems from the fact that despite GDP being a very strong predictor of social and health outcomes, we also see a lot of variation at each level of income.

@MaxCRoser looked at this in his latest post:… Image
This is also true for maternal mortality.

There can be at a 35-fold difference (!) in maternal mortality rates for countries with the same average income level.

Clearly there are successful approaches and interventions that countries can learn from one another. Image
Read 4 tweets
20 Aug
At @OurWorldInData we have built new tools & learned a lot in our COVID work in recent months.

Now we're applying these lessons to other topics.

We just launched our new CO₂ and GHG Emissions Data Explorer, Country Profiles & Complete Dataset.…
With @breckyunits we built a Data Explorer that allows you to explore the many ways of measuring CO₂ and GHG Emissions: annual, per capita, cumulative, consumption-based for all countries in one place.
We have added CO2 and GHG Emissions country profiles for all countries.

A dedicated page for any country to allow you to see how all of the key metrics are changing.…
Read 6 tweets

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