Yesterday, at the launch event for the U.S. Global Development Lab, the conversation was mostly optimistic. The goal of the lab is create a center for science and innovation focused on what the assembled leaders agreed was an achievable goal: ending extreme poverty by 2030.
But there was one particularly sobering moment, when Rajiv Shah, administrator of USAID, asked keynote speaker and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to reflect on some the obstacles to that goal.
“You have repeatedly reminded people that we can end hunger, if we have the will to do it,” he said. “Why do you feel that that’s accurate, and what are some of the challenges you feel we’re going to face?”
“I really do believe we can end hunger,” Clinton said. But then she went on to explain why climate change will be a major roadblock against such progress, a concern that is echoed by leading researchers.
“I am deeply worried about the latest U.N. report on the effects of climate change,” she said. “The impact will principally fall on food production and distribution. So although I’m still optimistic… I think if we look out 10-15 years,” to end hunger, we’ll need to “mitigate against or avoid the ongoing consequences of climate change.”
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