Moving away from natural gas production too soon could lead to mass starvation, a leading food economist has said, according to POLITICO Pro (subscription).
What’s going on: “Máximo Torero, the chief economist at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, told POLITICO that if Europe looks for immediate alternatives to Russian gas, prices will rise further, making it impossible for millions of people to buy food.”
- “‘If you switch the energy mix too quickly, you will increase the price of energy,’ he said. ‘Then you will increase the price of fertilizers, you increase the price of food, more people dying of hunger. So what do you want?’”
The policy impact: The comments could be a reason for the European Union to rethink its flagship environmental bill, the European Green Deal.
“Chronically undernourished”: Russia’s war in Ukraine could mean an additional 18.4 million people chronically undernourished next year, according to Torero.
- “That comes on top of an extra 161 million people he already predicted would be tipped into desperate hunger in 2021, linked to post-Covid price shocks. The U.N.’s Food Price Index hit a record high in March.”