China’s future food demand and its implications for trade and environment

Zhao, H., Chang, J. ORCID:, Havlik, P. ORCID:, van Dijk, M., Valin, H. ORCID:, Janssens, C., Ma, L., Bai, Z., et al. (2021). China’s future food demand and its implications for trade and environment. Nature Sustainability 4 1042-1051. 10.1038/s41893-021-00784-6.

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Satisfying China’s food demand without harming the environment is one of the greatest sustainability challenges for the coming decades. Here we provide a comprehensive forward-looking assessment of the environmental impacts of China’s growing demand on the country itself and on its trading partners. We find that the increasing food demand, especially for livestock products (~16%–30% across all scenarios), would domestically require ~3–12 Mha of additional pasture between 2020 and 2050, resulting in ~−2% to +16% growth in agricultural greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The projected ~15%–24% reliance on agricultural imports in 2050 would result in ~90–175 Mha of agricultural land area and ~88–226 MtCO2-equivalent yr−1of GHG emissions virtually imported to China, which account for ~26%–46% and ~13%–32% of China’s global environmental impacts, respectively. The distribution of the environmental impacts between China and the rest of the world would substantially depend on development of trade openness. Thus, to limit the negative environmental impacts of its growing food consumption, besides domestic policies, China needs to also take responsibility in the development of sustainable international trade.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA)
Advancing Systems Analysis (ASA) > Exploratory Modeling of Human-natural Systems (EM)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR)
Biodiversity and Natural Resources (BNR) > Integrated Biosphere Futures (IBF)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
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Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2021 09:21
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2022 14:19

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