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.

23 September 2020

This book by FCRN member Paul Behrens uses paired chapters of pessimism and hope to show how much needs to be done to achieve a hopeful future, but how this would involve actively building a healthier and more fulfilling world. The book covers subjects including food, energy, climate and economics.

26 August 2020

This paper addresses recent concerns about RCP8.5, a climate scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change based on an assumption of high levels of fossil fuel use. A recent commentary argues that RCP8.5 was originally intended to explore an unlikely future with no climate mitigation, but that it is now commonly referred to as a “business as usual” scenario by the media. In response, this paper argues that RCP8.5 is indeed a good match for current and stated climate policies up until 2050.

21 July 2020

In this paper, FCRN member Michael MacLeod reports that global aquaculture produced around 0.49% of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 - a similar quantity to the emissions from sheep meat production. When emissions are measured per kg of edible product, the paper finds aquaculture to have low emissions intensity relative to meat from goats, cattle, buffalo and sheep and similar emissions intensity to meat from pigs and chickens.

26 May 2020

In this episode of the Futuremakers podcast, Dr Monika Zurek and Dr Jim Woodhill of the Food Systems Group at the University of Oxford's Environmental Change Institute discuss the future of food in the light of population growth, dietary choices and technologies such as lab-grown meat.

12 May 2020

The average number of days that US farm workers spend working in dangerously hot conditions could double by mid-century and triple by the end of the century, according to this paper. Workplace adaptations such as longer rest breaks, working more slowly, switching to single-layer clothing and having cooled rest areas could tackle this problem, but would negatively affect farm productivity, worker earnings and labour costs.

5 May 2020

This paper uses temperature and precipitation projections across the ranges of over 30,000 species on land and in water to estimate when each species will be exposed to dangerous climate conditions. It predicts that most species within a given assemblage (group of species within a habitat) will encounter inhospitable climate conditions at the same time as each other (e.g. several species might have a similar upper limit on the temperature that they are able to cope with), meaning that disruption of the overall assemblage is likely to be abrupt.

29 April 2020

This book examines how the food system can adapt to be able to produce enough food in a changing climate. The authors present global policy options and list key foods that could help, including algae, caribou and kale.

31 March 2020

This book looks at the tradeoffs between mitigating climate change and protecting food security, as well as the effects that climate change has on food production.

24 March 2020

This report from global network Future Earth identifies the risks perceived by scientists to be most likely to lead to a global systemic crisis. Most of the scientists interviewed mentioned at least four of the five following risks: food, climate change, extreme weather, biodiversity loss and water. 

10 March 2020

In this episode of the Farm Gate podcast, FCRN member ffinlo Costain speaks to Caitlin Werrell (co-founder of the Washington-based Centre for Climate & Security) and to Rear Admiral Neil Morisetti (the UK's former Climate, Energy & Security Envoy) to explore how climate change might impact food security in developed nations such as the UK and the United States. 

3 March 2020

This paper reviews literature on the effects of environmental factors on the yields and nutritional qualities of fruit, nuts and seeds. In general, yields are expected to decrease under conditions of reduced water availability, higher ozone concentrations, temperatures above 28°C and higher water salinity. Berry and peanut yields respond positively to higher carbon dioxide levels, but this effect is reduced when temperatures also rise.

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.

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.

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.

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