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According to UK government Chief Scientist Sir John Beddington, by 2030 a ‘perfect storm’ that combines food, water and energy shortages will unleash public unrest and international conflict

Over 250 delegates attended this day-long seminar. A follow-up event: "Navigating the perfect storm: the international challenge of food, water and energy security" 


Outputs and additional resources

The event marked the publication of Food Security and Global Environmental Change (Earthscan, 2010) by the Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) project.


Programme and Presentations

Presentations and speaker biographies can be downloaded from the right-hand menus.

A full transcript of the keynote speech is available.



Dr Rita Gardner, Director, Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

Morning Chair: Professor Sir Gordon Conway, Chair in International Development, Imperial College


Session one - Background

Professor Julia Slingo, Chief Scientist, Met Office - Climate change context

Professor Andrew Watkinson, Director Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) and University of East Anglia - Research background


Session two - Keynote speaker

Rt Hon Chris Huhne MP, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change. A full transcript of the speech is now available.


Session three - Security challenges from the 'Perfect Storm'

Professor Nigel Arnell, Director Walker Institute, University of Reading - Water

Dr David Buffin, Centre for Food Policy, City University London - Food

Mike Bradshaw, Professor of Human Geography, University of Leicester - Energy


Afternoon chair: Mike Bradshaw, Professor of Human Geography, University of Leicester


Session four - Geographical understanding: case studies

Dr Glyn Davies, Director of Programmes, WWF-UK - The heart of Borneo – land use options

Professor Carys Swanwick, Department of Landscape, University of Sheffield - Changes in UK Land Use

Professor Harriet Bulkeley, Chair of Geography, Energy, and Environment at the Department of Geography, and Deputy Director of the Durham Energy Institute, Durham University - Cities and housing


Session five - Discussion: weathering the storm

Rob Hopkins, Co-Founder of Transition Towns Totnes and Transition Network

Mike Barry, Head of Sustainable Business, Marks and Spencer

Professor Mike Bradshaw, University of Leicester [Closing statement]


The post-event was reception sponsored by Global Environmental Change and Food Systems (GECAFS) to mark their publication of Food Security and Global Environmental Change (Earthscan, 2010).


About the Environment & Society Forum series

This event was delivered as part of the Environment & Society Forum series, which address major policy challenges by bringing geographers into dialogue with stakeholders in business, government and research.


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This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY NC 4.0), which permits use, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, provided the original work is cited and it is for non-commercial purposes. Please contact us for other uses.

How to cite

Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), Association for Geographic Information (2019). A perfect storm ahead: food, water and energy security. Available at:  Last accessed on: <date>


Featured image: Anandu Vinod/Unsplash