Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in Latin America
Hector E. Maletta
Universidad Nacional Tres de Febrero (UNTREF) - Graduate School of Statistics, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Center for Energy, Environment and Technology Research, Madrid, Spain
June 2, 2010
CLIMATE CHANGE, AGRICULTURE AND FOOD SECURITY IN LATIN AMERICA , Multi-Science Publishing, Brentwood, Essex, UK, 2011
This monograph reviews evidence on probable impacts of climate change on agricultural production and food security in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) up to year 2100, based on the IPCC climate projections (though discussing some of their limitations) and the best impact estimates available. Key concepts and methods are analyzed and discussed, and also past trends regarding agricultural output, food consumption, undernourishment and malnutrition, as well as other (non-climate) factors affecting food security: population growth, urbanization, economic development and income distribution. Some crosscutting climatic issues are reviewed: sea-level rise, El Niño, and the Amazon forest. Finally, estimates of the impact of climate change on agriculture are discussed based on two main approaches: Ricardian Models and Integrated Assessment Models; expected impacts on undernourishment are also analyzed. Conclusion: even strong climate change may involve only a small (positive or negative) overall impact on expected agricultural production of 2100 or any time before. Several Latin American subregions would actually benefit from climate change, especially the plains around the River Plate and the high-altitude Andean plateaux. The number of people at risk of hunger would become small or vanishing well before 2100, for the region and practically all its countries. Even in the worst cases, like Haiti, Central America or Bolivia, economic access to food would be greatly enhanced, with undernourishment expected to affect a small percentage of people by the late 21st Century. The study discusses several policy options to minimize negative impacts (and enhance positive impacts) of climate change on agriculture and food security in the LAC region.
Keywords: climate change, food security, hunger, agriculture, Latin America, Caribbean, impact, adaptation, IPCC, Ricardian models, Integrated Assessment Models
JEL Classification: I12, I31, J11, J13, N56, 013, O54, Q10, Q11, Q12, Q16, Q18, Q23, Q24, Q25, Q28, R14Accepted Paper Series
Date posted: June 2, 2010 ; Last revised: July 22, 2011
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