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.

24 February 2020

This explainer from Carbon Brief outlines nine interlinked “tipping points” where climate warming could trigger an abrupt change. They include disintegration of ice sheets, changes in ocean circulation, thawing of permafrost, and dieback of ecosystems such as the Amazon rainforest and coral reefs.

Image: webandi, Wine grapes agriculture, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
24 February 2020

This paper finds that, as climate change causes the geographical shift of areas suitable for growing certain crops, the potential changes in land use could have impacts on biodiversity, water resources and soil carbon storage. So-called “agriculture frontiers” - areas of land not currently suitable for producing crops but that might become suitable in future due to shifts in temperature or rainfall - cover an area nearly one-third as big as current agricultural land area.

Image: David B Gleason, Cow, Flickr, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
10 February 2020

In this debate piece, authors Pete Smith and Andrew Balmford argue that the recent development of the GWP* method of measuring the climate impact of short-lived greenhouse gases (notably methane), as opposed to the conventional GWP method, should not be used as an excuse to avoid reducing methane emissions. Read more about the differences between GWP* and GWP in the article New way to evaluate short-lived greenhouse gas emissions.

28 January 2020

This book by Carolyn Steel sets out a vision for a healthier, more ethical future food system. It discusses climate change mitigation, new food technologies, and the relation of food to ideas of a good life.

20 January 2020

According to the Global Risks Report 2020 by the global NGO World Economic Forum, the five risks with the greatest likelihood of happening all relate to the environment (as opposed to the economy, society, geopolitics or technology). The five risks are: extreme weather, climate action failure, natural disasters, biodiversity loss and human-made environmental disasters.

13 January 2020

Farmwel chief executive ffinlo Costain has launched a new podcast, Farm Gate, which focuses on practical solutions for climate and food security. The topics covered are relevant for everyone who eats food, but particularly intended for farmers, food chain professionals, and policy-makers. The FCRN’s Tara Garnett was interviewed in the episode Is 'vegan' a dirty word?

9 December 2019

The Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience (CAWR) at Coventry University has launched a new podcast series, The Changing Room, which will explore how to cope with social, economic and environmental change. The first episode explores how climate change is affecting our everyday lives. The second episode, which will be released in January 2020, will discuss food justice.

9 December 2019

This report from Dalhousie University and the University of Guelph tracks changes in food prices in Canada. It finds that prices in some food categories were impacted by environmental events, including an unexpected 5% increase in fish prices due to warming oceans. It also predicts that consumers will put strong pressure on food producers to avoid single-use plastic packaging, and that the Canadian food system is likely to be stressed by climate change, such as through  droughts, forest fires and heavy precipitation.

2 December 2019

This book gives a holistic overview of both the impacts of climate change on agriculture and the contribution of agriculture to climate change, describes how to predict these interactions, and offers strategies for “climate-smart agriculture”.

Image: Christine Zenino, Greenland Ice (4018284492), Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
2 December 2019

This commentary reviews the evidence on climate tipping points - i.e. irreversible (on a human timescale) and abrupt shifts from one climate state to another - and concludes that several interlinked tipping points could be already active or very near to being triggered. Cutting emissions could still slow down the rate at which the tipping points operate, the authors argue.

11 November 2019

In this blog post, Asaf Tzachor of the Centre for the Study of Existential Risk at the University of Cambridge describes four pathways by which the global food system could collapse. He calls for greater awareness that interactions between different processes (such as ocean acidification, climate change, wildfires and plant diseases) could lead to vicious cycles, and argues that policymakers should seek leverage points in the food system.

4 November 2019

This book gives examples of practices and tools that can help agriculture adapt to climate change, focusing on Japan and other nearby Asian countries.

Image: Bob Jones, Harvested wheat field, Geograph, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
4 November 2019

This paper models the changes in vegetation and agricultural land use that might be expected if action is not taken to mitigate climate change. Temperatures in the UK would increase by around 5.4°C in the growing season and 4.7°C out of the growing season by the end of the century. The growing season would become drier by around 37% and the non-growing season would become 7% wetter, with drying being less pronounced in the north of the UK than the rest of the country.

2 October 2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a special report reviewing the impacts of climate change on the oceans and cryosphere (ice gaps, glaciers and frozen ground), incorporating evidence that has been published since the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report and Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C. It finds that climate change has shrunk ice sheets, glaciers and sea ice as well as heated permafrost (ground that normally remains frozen all year).

18 September 2019

Michelle Cain, Myles Allen and John Lynch of the University of Oxford have published a plain-language briefing note that explains how different ways of measuring the climate impact of methane (GWP100 versus GWP*) affect definitions of net zero emissions targets.

18 September 2019

FCRN member David Cleveland has co-authored this book, which addresses how food gardens can be used by people to respond to climate change through both adaptation and mitigation.

18 September 2019

In August 2019, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published a special report on climate change and land, covering a variety of interlinked topics including desertification, land degradation, food security, water scarcity, negative emissions, and policy options for both adaptation and mitigation.

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