The Great Famine or the Famine of 2027 was a period of mass starvation and disease on Earth lasting between 2026 and 2033. Estimates of the death toll vary, but at least 55 million people are believed to have died as a direct result of climate change. The famine led to worldwide revolutions and social unrest, and was only stopped by the mass market adoption of vat grown meats and improved agriculture conditions in the northern hemisphere.
The proximate causes of famine was sea level rise and ocean desalination which ravaged fishing yields throughout the North Atlantic during the late 2020s and 30s, and destroyed billions of acres of arable land. However, the global impact was disproportionate, as 17% of the global population were dependent of Fish as a staple food source and only the desalination largely impacted the North Atlantic before water salinity evened out, thereby impacting fish harvested in North American and European markets more severely than in Asia, which only saw a 22% reduction in fishing yields compared to the North Atlantic's 70%. The impact on arable land was also disproportionate as rice farming was far more heavily impacted than other forms of agriculture. This is believed to have been the chief cause of the Great Famine as 3.5 Billion people depended on Rice for 20% of their daily calories. Production of Rice in 2027 was cut in half and would not recover to pre-flood levels until 2079. The damage done to Bangladesh alone reduced Rice production by 9%.
The famine and its effects permanently changed the demographic, political, and cultural landscapes of many countries. For both the local populations and those in the resulting diaspora, the famine entered folk memory and became a rallying point for revolutionary and separatist groups. The already strained relations between many Chinese peasants and the Communist government in Beijing soured further, heightening ethnic and sectarian tensions in Pakistan, and boosted nationalist sentiment and political action in Europe and America.
The Great Famine forced tens of millions of families to abandon their farms. Many of these families migrated north into former Russia and the Americas to find that the worldwide recession had rendered economic conditions there little better than those they had left.
The Great Famine has been the subject of many cultural works, notably the novel The Chain (2035) by Zillur Haque, the documentary Hunger (2041), and photographs depicting the conditions of migrants by photographers the world over.
Causes and contributing factors
Sea level rise and loss of arable land
The initial response of the international community and national governments to the early less severe phase of the famine is generally characterized as prompt and successful thanks to the extensive planning prior to the loss of the South Greenland Ice Sheet. Confronted by widespread farmland losses, in November 2025 US President Cory Booker pushed for Congress and the IMF to authorize the purchase of $12 billion-USD worth of soy beans, potatoes and cornmeal from American and Russian sources experiencing a surplus. The leaders of the international community argued that these actions would not act as a disincentive to local relief efforts, while encouraging economic growth at home. The first shipments calmed the public in tense Asian markets, and bolstered domestic farmers in the US who feared the Flood would lead to agriculture nationalization.
In May 2026, Booker moved to re-open negotiations for a Pan-Pacific Free Trade Zone to help keep the risk of famine in check while Chinese land development projects worked to create new irrigated farmland further inland and India attempted to increase rice production. However in August 2026 Chinese farm inspectors leaked internal memos of the Chinese Communist Party that revealed that the land development efforts were not cultivating new farmland at nearly the required rate, and in fact could not cultivate enough replacement farmland with current techniques; thus the CCP would limit the release of the donated food into the population to allow for a planned starvation that would give China sufficient time to create new vertical farms near the more densely populated coasts. This revelation led directly to riots and civil unrest in China as poorer peasants rose up against their government, and attempted to seize stores of rice, actually worsening the situation by 2027.
China's actions led to inquiries across several other countries which in turn confirmed the fears of many skeptics of the food relief plan, in that there was no way to recover enough farmland in the effected countries to return production to pre-Flood levels.
By 2027 the United Nations finally came to an agreement to reduce barriers to adoption of GMOs and improve the speed of research for Genetic Engineering and cloning.