Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios

Parry ML, Rosenzweig C, Iglesias A, Livermore M, & Fischer G (2004). Effects of climate change on global food production under SRES emissions and socio-economic scenarios. Global Environmental Change 14 (1): 53-67. DOI:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.008.

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Abstract

This paper analyses the global consequences to crop yields, production, and risk of hunger of linked socio-economic and climate scenarios. Potential impacts of climate change are estimated for climate change scenarios developed from the HadCM3 global climate model under the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Emissions Scenarios (SRES) A1FI, A2, B1, and B2. Projected changes in yield are calculated using transfer functions derived from crop model simulations with observed climate data and projected climate change scenarios. The basic linked system (BLS) is used to evaluate consequent changes in global cereal production, cereal prices and the number of people at risk from hunger.

The crop yield results elucidate the complex regional patterns of projected climate variables, CO2 effects, and agricultural systems that contribute to aggregations of global crop production. The A1FI scenario, as expected with its large increase in global temperatures, exhibits the greatest decreases both regionally and globally in yields, especially by the 2080s. The contrast between the yield change in developed and developing countries is largest under the A2a-c scenarios. Under the B1 and B2 scenarios, developed and developing countries exhibit less contrast in crop yield changes, with the B2 future crop yield changes being slightly more favourable than those of the B1 scenario.

When crop yield results are introduced to the BLS world food trade system model, the combined model and scenario experiments demonstrate that the world, for the most part, appears to be able to continue to feed itself under the SRES scenarios during the rest of this century. However, this outcome is achieved through production in the developed countries (which mostly benefit from climate change) compensating for declines projected, for the most part, for developing nations. While global production appears stable, regional differences in crop production are likely to grow stronger through time, leading to a significant polarisation of effects, with substantial increases in prices and risk of hunger amongst the poorer nations, especially under scenarios of greater inequality (A1FI and A2).

The use of the SRES scenarios highlights several non-linearities in the world food supply system, both in the biophysical sense, where the levels of atmospheric CO2 tested reach new levels, and the socio-economic sense, where changes in population dynamics and economic and political structures complicate the translation of biophysical climate change impacts into social indices, such as the number of people at risk of hunger.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Climate change; SRES emissions scenarios; global food security; cereal yields; risk of hunger
Research Programs: Modeling Land-Use and Land-Cover Changes (LUC)
Bibliographic Reference: Global Environmental Change Part A; 14(1):53-67 [2004]
Depositing User: IIASA Import
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 02:16
Last Modified: 22 Aug 2016 15:04
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/7185

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