World faces food shortages: UN report By NINA CHESTNEY, Reuters January 31, 2012 The world is running out of time to make sure there is enough food, water and energy to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population and to avoid sending up to three billion people into poverty, a UN report warned on Monday. As the world's population looks set to grow to nearly nine billion by 2040 from seven billion now, and the number of middle-class consumers increases by three billion over the next 20 years, the demand for resources will rise exponentially. Even by 2030, the world will need at least 50 per cent more food, 45 per cent more energy and 30 per cent more water, according to UN estimates, at a time when a changing environment is creating new limits to sup-ply. Efforts toward sustainable development are neither fast enough nor deep enough, as well as suffering from a lack of political will, the United Nations' high-level panel on global sustainability said. "The current global development model is un-sustainable. "To achieve sustainability, a transformation of the global economy is required," the report said. "Tinkering on the margins will not do the job. The cur-rent global economic crisis ... offers an opportunity for significant reforms." Although the number of people living in absolute poverty has been reduced to 27 per cent of world population from 46 per cent in 1990 and the global economy has grown 75 per cent since 1992, improved lifestyles and changing consumer habits have put natural resources under increasing strain. There are 20 million more undernourished people now than in 2000; 5.2 million hectares of forest are lost per year - an area the size of Costa Rica; 85 per cent of all fish stocks are over-exploited or depleted; and car-bon dioxide emissions have risen 38 per cent between 1990 and 2009, which heightens the risk of sea level rise and more extreme weather. The panel, which made 56 recommendations for sustainable development to be included in economic policy as quickly as possible, said a "new political economy" was needed. The report is available at un.org/gsp/ Â© Copyright (c) The Montreal Gazette http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/World+faces+food+shortages+report/6075572/story.html GMOs, anyone? You'd better believe it, otherwise the planet's population won't get fed.