Food Security and Climate Change

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Lecture given by Dr John Ingram, Univ. pf Oxford, in March 2010

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Food Security and Climate Change

  1. 1. Food Security and Climate Change John Ingram Environmental Change Institute University of Oxford
  2. 2. Why is this attracting such attention?
  3. 3. We know that world population will Population (billions) continue to rise …
  4. 4. … but increases in grain production have kept pace with increases in population.
  5. 5. But now we also know that temperatures are rising…
  6. 6. … that climate change will undermine food production in many parts of the world… Simulated maize yields (from Jones & 2000 2055 Thornton, 2002)
  7. 7. … and that agriculture contributes significantly to GHG emissions. Agriculture 13% Source:  EarthTrends,  2008;  using  data  from  the  the  Climate  Analysis  Indicators  Tool  (CAIT)    
  8. 8. But what do we actually understand by “Food Security”?
  9. 9. Food security… ... exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. (UN-FAO World Food Summit 1996)
  10. 10. Food security… ... exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life. (UN-FAO World Food Summit 1996) … is more than food production … is underpinned by food systems
  11. 11. Food System Concept Food System ACTIVITIES ... exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to resources, inputs,safe, and Producing food: natural sufficient, markets, … nutritious food to meet raw materials, standards, storageand food Processing & packaging food: their dietary needs requirement, … Distributing & retailing food: transport, marketing, advertising, … preferences for an food: acquisition, preparation, customs, … Consuming active and healthy life. (World Food Summit 1996) Food System OUTCOMES Contributing to: Social Welfare Food Security, i.e. stability over time Environmental •  Income for: Welfare •  Employment •  Ecosystem •  Wealth FOOD FOOD stocks & flows UTILISATION ACCESS •  Social capital •  Ecosystem •  Political capital • Nutritional Value • Affordability services •  Human capital • Social Value • Allocation •  Access to natural • Food Safety • Preference capital FOOD AVAILABILITY • Production • Distribution • Exchange
  12. 12. Food systems are already failing many: 1.02 billion people hungry in 2009 Developed 15m NENA 42m Asia & Pac 642m “In New York City the number of SSA people having trouble paying for food LAC has increased53m to 3.3m, since 2003 and ... a staggering one in five 60%, 265m of the city's children rely on soup kitchens - up by 48% since 2004”. Economist, Jan 14th 2010
  13. 13. Affordability is critical for food security: When supply goes down, prices go up
  14. 14. Consequences of the 2008 Food Price Crisis
  15. 15. So what’s the link with climate change? Recall: food security is already very challenging for many…
  16. 16. Crops have critical average temperature thresholds during growing season (°C) Lower Optimum Upper Potato 5-10 15-20 25 Wheat 0 17-23 30-35 Maize 8-13 25-30 32-37 Rice 7-12 25-30 35-38 (Rötter and van de Geijn, 1999)
  17. 17. Rice yield is particularly sensitive to Tmin Field observations over several years, Philippines Peng et al, 2004, PNAS
  18. 18. We know that warming projections depend on emissions scenarios … A2: focuses on economic growth B1: focuses on environmental sustainability IPCC (2007)
  19. 19. and we know that actual emissions are near the “worst case” emission scenario. Van Vuuren and Riahi Van Vuuren (2008) and Riahi (2008)
  20. 20. We also now realise that feedbacks in the carbon cycle are expected to accelerate global warming Monday 28 September 2009 Met Office warns of catastrophic global warming in our lifetimes •  With high emissions: +4°C in 2070s •  Plausible worst case: +4°C by 2060 •  The Arctic could warm by 15°C or more •  Annual precipitation could decrease by 20% or more in many areas
  21. 21. Temperatures will rise further, faster … but with pronounced regional variation Pattern of warming by 2090s, A1B Mean of “high-end” MOHC © Crown copyright Met Office simulations (9 simulations, mean global warming 4.6°C)
  22. 22. 6 Global Temperature (°C) by 2100 5 Worst case 4 2060 (IPCC, 2007) (Met Office, 2009) 3 The Hunters in the Snow: Brueghel, 1565. “Safe” limit 2 Northern Hemisphere “Little Ice Age” Temperature (°C) begins 1 1 1 0.5 0 0 0 -0.5 1000 1200 1400 1600 1800 2000
  23. 23. “Weather” is also likely to get more extreme
  24. 24. Maybe more cold days but a lot more hot ones…
  25. 25. So what’s all this mean for food security? … and how do we know? 1.  Experiments to understand how changed conditions affect crop growth, yield and quality
  26. 26. 1.  Experiments, e.g. Temperature Gradient Tunnels (TGT)
  27. 27. So what’s all this mean for food security? … and how do we know? 1.  Experiments to understand how changed conditions affect crop growth, yield and quality 3.  Computer modelling to estimate how changed conditions affect: i.  crop growth and yield ii.  regional production iii. global food supply
  28. 28. 2.i Computer modelling to estimate how changed conditions affect crop growth and yield
  29. 29. 2.ii Computer modelling to estimate how changed conditions affect regional production Simulated maize yields (from Jones & Thornton, CGIAR, 2002) 2000 2055
  30. 30. 3.iii Computer modelling to estimate how changed conditions will affect global food supply 2020s 2050s % change in average crop yields Crops modelled are wheat, maize and rice. 2080s Effects of CO2 are taken into account. Parry et al. (2005)
  31. 31. So what’s all this mean for food security? … and how do we know? 1.  Experiments to understand how changed conditions affect crop growth, yield and quality 3.  Computer modelling to estimate how changed conditions affect: i.  crop growth and yield ii.  regional production iii. global food supply 5.  Scenarios to consider climate change in the context of socio-economic and political decisions.
  32. 32. 3. Scenarios (plausible stories) to consider climate change in the context of socio-economic and political decisions. World Development Globalization Regionalization Reactive Environmental Management Global Orchestration Order from Strength Proactive TechnoGarden Adapting Mosaic Millennium Ecosystem Assessment , 2006
  33. 33. So we know climate will affect our food security …. ? And so what do we need to do about it? We need silver buckshot! 1.  Multiple ways to adapt to anticipated climate change 2.  Multiple ways to mitigate further climate change
  34. 34. Adaptation means “doing things differently” => adapt our Food Producing food System Processing & packaging food “Activities” Distributing & retailing food Consuming food
  35. 35. Adapting food producing activities: agriculture, livestock, horticulture, aquaculture, fisheries, … • Stress-tolerant varieties • Wider range of food stuffs • Novel food producing systems • Insurance for producers • …
  36. 36. Preserving crop varieties for the future • Opened 2008 • > 4,000,000 samples • -18 oC • “Climate change proof”
  37. 37. Improving food storage Reduce losses to pests and damp
  38. 38. Input Suppliers Reducing food loss Farmers •  May occur anywhere Processors along the supply chain, from farm to final consumer Transporters •  Difficult to measure •  Globally, 15-50% of Retailers food is lost post- harvest Final Consumers •  Often unnoticed until too late
  39. 39. Re-designing food distribution systems London Evening Standard 23 November 2009 …Meanwhile in Cumbria, families say they are running out of food as many are unable to reach shops after six bridges collapsed.
  40. 40. So we know climate will affect our food security …. ? And so what do we need to do about it? We need silver buckshot! 1.  Multiple ways to adapt to anticipated climate change 2.  Multiple ways to mitigate further climate change
  41. 41. Global GHG emission sources 70%  of  arable  GHG  emissions   connected  with  N  fer8lizer   (manufacture,  use):   CO2  &  N2O   Source:  EarthTrends,  2008;  using  data  from  the  the  Climate  Analysis  Indicators  Tool  (CAIT)    
  42. 42. Improving N-use efficiency? N input – N output in crop kg N/ha/yr Western Kenya -52 (maize) USA +10 (maize-soybean) North China +227 (maize-wheat) (Vitousek et al, 2009)
  43. 43. China grain production and fertilizer consumption (1980 = 100) Grain Fertilizer Considerable food production achievement BUT inefficient use (quantity, timing)
  44. 44. What other Food System ‘Activities’ offer mitigation possibilities? Producing food from Edwards et al., Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, 2009 Processing & packaging food Distributing & retailing food Consuming food
  45. 45. Reducing food packaging?
  46. 46. Reducing food miles?
  47. 47. Modernising supermarket chilling equipment? Refrigerant leakage accounts for 30% of super- markets’ direct GHG emissions (Environment Investigation Agency, 2010) Guardian 1 February 2009
  48. 48. But the industry is “tidying up” Net GHG emissions connected with premises, transport and refrigerants The Co-operative Group Sustainability Report 2008/09
  49. 49. What about us as individuals? Accepting less choice? Tesco Oxford has 25,000 different food lines
  50. 50. Considering novel foods?
  51. 51. Modifying our diets? => One of the biggest, most immediate impacts!
  52. 52. Behavioural Change and Personal Action Emissions reductions (MtCO2e) achievable if adopted by 100% of the US population Consume less red meat 105 Recycling and and diary: Responsible Consumption Transportation Eat poultry in place of red 16% 22% meat and consume plant- based food rather than Diet and dairy two days per week Food Waste 17% Waste less food: 65 Household Energy Reduce consumer food 45% waste by 25% Pie chart total = 1000 MtCO2e (14% of total US emissions)
  53. 53. Reducing food waste •  Every household in the UK wastes between £250 and £400 of food per year •  Avoidable waste of cereal-based food in the UK and USA could lift 224 million people out of hunger •  Producing and distributing edible food that goes to waste accounts for around 5% of all UK GHG emissions Food Ethics Council, 2009
  54. 54. Conclusion We know what we want: a clever balancing act between food security and environment
  55. 55. And we also know what we don’t want!
  56. 56. Food Security and Climate Change ? Mitigation Adaptation

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