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.

20 March 2019

This report by international non-profit Forum for the Future outlines some key trends in sustainability that the authors expect will be important over the next decade. The report also aims to equip decision-makers with a greater ability to influence systems at the scale necessary to tackle global challenges.

Image: Kevin Dooley, Rain cloud over Phoenix, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
20 March 2019

This paper uses climate models to estimate that average precipitation across many crop production areas will change by more than natural variability throughout the 21st century. Changes are seen even if emissions are relatively low, but meeting the Paris climate goals could reduce the extent of cropland that is affected.

Image: AEPF, Olive tree Italy, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
13 March 2019

Extreme weather events such as frosts, heavy rains and droughts are the main drivers of lower olive yields in Italy, according to Professor Riccardo Valentini of the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change. Italy has experienced a 57% drop in olive oil production in 2018.

13 March 2019

This book by Mike Berners-Lee aims to provide a big-picture overview of how to solve the many environmental issues the world is facing now, including both systemic and personal paths of action. It is aimed at a wide audience including both policymakers and the general public. Chapter 2 is about food.

Image: Romaniamissions, Fishing boats Spain, Pixabay, Pixabay Licence
12 March 2019

This paper retrospectively models the impacts of ocean warming on the productivity of 235 fish populations around the world representing around one third of reported global catch. It uses a temperature-dependent population model to estimate that the overall maximum sustainable yield of the fish populations dropped by 4.1% between 1930 and 2010.

26 February 2019

This book explores how climate change will affect food security and availability, and outlines ways of adapting agriculture to cope under a different climate.

18 February 2019

This report from The Climate Coalition (a UK-based association of organisations with an interest in climate change) outlines how production of fruit and vegetables in the UK is threatened by extreme weather events made more likely by climate change.

18 February 2019

Human-induced environmental change could lead to the collapse of social and economic systems, according to this report from the UK think-tank IPPR, which argues that policymakers must shift their understanding of the scale and impacts of environmental breakdown and the need for transformative change.

Image: Max Pixel, Plant field summer, Creative Commons CC0
4 February 2019

These three audio reports from the Wall Street Journal explore the impact of climate change on commercial fisheries, cattle genetically engineered to tolerate higher temperatures, and how advances in artificial intelligence and genetics could help farmers to withstand crop disease and droughts.

Image: PDPics, Potato chips, Pixabay, Pixabay License
4 February 2019

This report from The Lancet Commission identifies the drivers behind what it terms ‘The Global Syndemic’, i.e. co-occurring pandemics, of obesity, undernutrition and climate change. The report finds that no country has successfully reversed its epidemic of obesity because the underlying causes have not been solved.

Image: Crabmanners, Large Dungeness Crab, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International
10 December 2018

The Pacific Coast Federation of Fishermen's Associations has taken legal action against 30 fossil fuel companies, arguing that the crab fishing industry is being harmed by climate change. Algal blooms, made more likely by warming ocean waters, have cut short crab fishing seasons.

3 December 2018

The US Global Change Research Programme has published the second volume of its Fourth National Climate Assessment, which examines the human welfare, societal, and environmental impacts of climate change and variability across many sectors, including agriculture.

3 December 2018

In this report, the InterAcademy Partnership expresses concern over the current state of global food systems and nutrition, and also identifies science-based initiatives that could contribute to solutions.

Image: ChriKo, Male Locusta migratoria migratorioides photographed in Katavi National Park, Tanzania, Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
22 October 2018

Losses of wheat, rice and maize to insects could increase by 10 to 25% per degree Celsius of climate warming, according to this paper. This is due to two main factors: insects have faster metabolisms at higher temperatures and therefore need to eat more; and insect population growth rates will also change with temperature.

16 October 2018

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a special report on keeping climate change to 1.5°C. The report says, “Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.”

25 September 2018

This book, by Leonard Rusinamhodzi, describes the concept of ecosystems services, shows how to identify and quantify ecosystems services in the context of sustainable food systems, and examines the challenges of maintaining ecosystems services in the face of climate change.

Image: Pixabay, Dominoes barricade, CC0 Creative Commons
20 August 2018

Researchers have warned that a cascade of positive feedback loops could push global temperatures into a “Hothouse Earth” state for millennia, even if human greenhouse gas emissions are reduced. Some systems, such as ice sheets, forests and permafrost, could pass a temperature tipping point beyond which they rapidly become net contributors to climate change. If one is set off, the warming produced could trigger the remaining tipping points, like a line of dominoes.

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