Climate Change and Food Systems

Posted: 20 Oct 2012

Date Written: November 2012

Abstract

Food systems contribute 19%–29% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, releasing 9,800–16,900 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCOe) in 2008. Agricultural production, including indirect emissions associated with land-cover change, contributes 80%–86% of total food system emissions, with significant regional variation. The impacts of global climate change on food systems are expected to be widespread, complex, geographically and temporally variable, and profoundly influenced by socioeconomic conditions. Historical statistical studies and integrated assessment models provide evidence that climate change will affect agricultural yields and earnings, food prices, reliability of delivery, food quality, and, notably, food safety. Low-income producers and consumers of food will be more vulnerable to climate change owing to their comparatively limited ability to invest in adaptive institutions and technologies under increasing climatic risks. Some synergies among food security, adaptation, and mitigation are feasible. But promising interventions, such as agricultural intensification or reductions in waste, will require careful management to distribute costs and benefits effectively.

Suggested Citation

Vermeulen, Sonja J. and Campbell, Bruce and Ingram, John S., Climate Change and Food Systems (November 2012). Annual Review of Environment and Resources, Vol. 37, pp. 195-222, 2012, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2163586 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1146/annurev-environ-020411-130608

Sonja J. Vermeulen (Contact Author)

University of Copenhagen ( email )

Nørregade 10
Copenhagen, København DK-1165
Denmark

Bruce Campbell

CGIAR ( email )

Washington, DC
United States

John S. Ingram

University of Oxford ( email )

Mansfield Road
Oxford, Oxfordshire OX1 4AU
United Kingdom

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