Scenarios, Results, Policy Options
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International Food Policy Research Institute
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Feeding a growing world population, likely to reach 9 billion by 2050, poses an unprecedented challenge to human ingenuity. Most of these additional people will be born in developing countries, where the population is projected to reach nearly 8 billion by 2050. As the incomes of these people rise, they will demand more and higher-quality food. Even in the best of circumstances, sustainably satisfying this increased demand for crops and livestock will be an enormous challenge. The negative consequences of climate change on food production make meeting these food requirements even more daunting. The 2010 floods in Pakistan and excessive heat and drought in Russia offer just glimpses of global food security’s troubled future.
IFPRI’s latest research on food security and climate change, Food Security, Farming, and Climate Change to 2050: Scenarios, Results, Policy Options is a follow-up to IFPRI’s widely-read 2009 food policy report, Climate Change: Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation, which used a detailed global agriculture model to analyze crop growth under two simulated future climate scenarios. The new studytakes advantage of and expands on IFPRI’s cutting-edge climate modeling expertise to address the climate change threat in the context of larger food security challenges. Building on previous research by IFPRI and other international organizations, it examines a wider range of plausible economic, demographic, and climatic futures than has previously been analyzed.
Specifically, the research monograph considers three combinations of income and population growth: a baseline scenario (with moderate income and population growth), a pessimistic scenario (with low income growth and high population growth), and an optimistic scenario (with high income growth and low population growth). The study combines each of these three income/population scenarios with four plausible climate scenarios that range from slightly to substantially wetter and hotter on average, as well as with an implausible scenario of perfect mitigation (a continuation of today’s climate into the future).
Based on 15 possible scenarios to 2050, the results constitute the most comprehensive analysis to date on the scope of climate change as it relates to food security, including who will be most affected and what policymakers can do to facilitate adaptation.