Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Climate change: Impacts and adaptation

All regions around the world are affected by climate change. Extreme weather events, increased rainfall, heat waves and droughts are among the changes caused by the rise in average global temperature. Weather variability is generally increased as well and can be a great cause of concern for farmers. The future impact of the changes on agriculture is unclear: in some areas food production may increase, whereas in many others changing long-term conditions and unstable weather patterns may have disastrous consequences. Measures to adapt to the new climate and weather are being developed in most industries and issues around the financing of such measures have been the cause of contestation in global policy processes such as IPCC. In agriculture, it is considered necessary to prepare for changing climatic conditions through adapting seeds, crop/livestock choices, and production practices and fostering more resilient systems that can cope with shocks and variable conditions. Such adaptation to a changing climate is a huge challenge, requiring joined up institutional thinking, plenty of engagement with farmers, and adequate financing of agricultural R&D.

12 April 2017

Planetary health is a new approach that broadens health research to include the health of human civilisations and the natural (external) systems on which they depend. In a new journal, alongside The Lancet Public Health and The Lancet Global Health, The Lancet Planetary Health will explore the links between planetary and human health and how we can protect the environment on which we depend and develop sustainable systems that support human health. 

4 April 2017

This report from IIED looks at when and how social learning-oriented approaches contribute to better and more sustainable development outcomes, focusing specifically on food security and climate change.

29 March 2017

This is a commentary by Carbon Brief’s Leo Hickman on the latest executive order by US president Donald Trump that we copy below, for the original post -see here.

31 January 2017

The German Development Institute along with the African Centre for Technology Studies,the Stockholm Environment Institute, and the UNFCCC secretariat have developed a new tool to compare the 163 existing national climate action plans.

Photo credit: Analia Bertucci, USDA NRCS, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
15 December 2016

In this paper, the authors present an analysis of the nitrogen cycle in the agricultural production system of 12 world regions. From these results, they go on to suggest improvements in nitrogen use by changing the role of human diet, international trade and local production.

22 November 2016

The summary of key messages and full reports from the 1.5 Degrees conference which was held between 20-22 September 2016 in Oxford have now been published.

Credit: Edward Musiak, Mountain range, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
22 November 2016

This paper takes as its starting point the mainstream projections that in future, global food production will need to increase by another 60–110% by 2050, to keep up with anticipated increases in human population and changes in diet (it should be noted, however, that the need and feasibility of such increases is contested (see), with many arguing that dietary change and waste reduction can reduce the need for production increases (see)).

Photo: Susanne Nilsson, Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
17 November 2016

This report highlights the impacts of climate change on the agricultural sector and how, in the future, this is increasingly threatening food security for millions. The report states that meeting the goals of eradicating hunger and poverty by 2030, while addressing the threat of climate change, will require profound transformation of food and agriculture systems worldwide – which is of course a major challenge. 

18 October 2016

The ‘2016 Food, Water, Energy and Climate Outlook’ by the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change finds that even if commitments from the  COP21 climate agreement are kept, many staple crops in various regions are still at risk of crop failures through extreme events, but at the same time, yields in many regions are projected to increase.

Credit: Juan Mercada, Olor a Marrakesh, Flickr, Creative Commons licence 2.0
11 October 2016

Ongoing discussions on agriculture within the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), will culminate this year at the COP22 climate negotiations in Marrakech, following a long process since their initiation in Durban in 2011. The talks in Marrakech follow the signing of the Paris Agreement in 2015 which, in its preamble, explicitly refers to safeguarding food security. Also, the vast majority of countries’ Intended Nationally Determined Contributions submissions (i.e. climate pledges) prioritise agriculture as a sector for adaptation and mitigation action.

Credit: thebarrowboy - trawling, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
11 October 2016

The authors used a species distribution model and applied this to the 887 marine fish (which represents 60% of global average annual catch in the 2000s) and invertebrate species in the world oceans under high and low emissions scenarios. The authors find that global maximum catch potential (MCP) is projected to decrease globally by 7.7% between 2010 and 2050, under the business as usual scenario, and the global revenue from this is predicted to decrease by 10.4% compared to 2010. Under the low emissions scenario, MCP is projected to decrease globally by 4.1% and revenue by 7.1%​

Credit: Dan zen, Golden soy, Flickr, Creative Commons Licence 2.0
11 October 2016

This paper by researchers in the US and Australia reports the findings of a long-term field-trial-based investigation into the effect of elevated carbon dioxide concentrations (CO2) on soy yield and drought tolerance. Their findings challenge the widely-held belief that crop yield will be increased by elevated CO2 (the so-called CO2 fertilisation effect) both because of increased photosynthetic rate, and because of lower susceptibility to drought: it has long been assumed that in higher CO2 conditions, stomatal conductance will be lower, leading to slower water loss from the leaves, slower water uptake from the roots, and consequently more moisture remaining in the soil for longer, thereby sustaining crops in limited rainfall.

Photo: Masahiro Ihara , Flickr, Creative Commons License 2.0
4 October 2016

The agricultural sector is particularly vulnerable to climate change; a small increase of 1 degree Celsius can have significant negative impacts on crop yields, especially in the tropics. Global economic losses in production of three major crops (wheat, maize, and barley) attributed to climate change in the recent past are estimated at approximately US$5 billion per year.