A new paper published in the Sustainability Journal finds that relevant experts expect food security to be a flashpoint for large-scale civil unrest events in the UK.
The paper ‘Scoping Potential Routes to UK Civil Unrest via the Food System: Results of a Structured Expert Elicitation’ takes a ‘backcasting’ approach by defining as an end-point a societal event in which 1 in 2000 people have been injured in the UK during a civil unrest event. 40% of experts consulted for the report rated this as ‘Possible (20–50%)’, ‘More likely than not (50–80%)’ or ‘Very likely (>80%)’ over the coming decade. Over a timeframe of 50 years, this increased to 80% of experts.
The experts ‘considered two food system scenarios and ranked their plausibility of contributing to the given societal scenario. For a timescale of 10 years, the majority identified a food distribution problem as the most likely. Over a timescale of 50 years, the experts were more evenly split between the two scenarios, but over half thought the most likely route to civil unrest would be a lack of total food in the UK. However, the experts stressed that the various causes of food system disruption are interconnected and can create cascading risks, highlighting the importance of a systems approach’.