Climate change impacts on food system

Tuesday, 16 December 2014
Xiao Zhang1, Ximing Cai1 and Tingju Zhu2, (1)University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, United States, (2)Int''l Food Policy Res Inst, Washington, DC, United States
Food system includes biophysical factors (climate, land and water), human environments (production technologies and food consumption, distribution and marketing), as well as the dynamic interactions within them. Climate change affects agriculture and food systems in various ways. Agricultural production can be influenced directly by climatic factors such as mean temperature rising, change in rainfall patterns, and more frequent extreme events. Eventually, climate change could cause shift of arable land, alteration of water availability, abnormal fluctuation of food prices, and increase of people at risk of malnutrition.

This work aims to evaluate how climate change would affect agricultural production biophysically and how these effects would propagate to social factors at the global level. In order to model the complex interactions between the natural and social components, a Global Optimization model of Agricultural Land and Water resources (GOALW) is applied to the analysis. GOALW includes various demands of human society (food, feed, other), explicit production module, and irrigation water availability constraint. The objective of GOALW is to maximize global social welfare (consumers’ surplus and producers’ surplus).Crop-wise irrigation water use in different regions around the world are determined by the model; marginal value of water (MVW) can be obtained from the model, which implies how much additional welfare benefit could be gained with one unit increase in local water availability. Using GOALW, we will analyze two questions in this presentation: 1) how climate change will alter irrigation requirements and how the social system would buffer that by price/demand adjustment; 2) how will the MVW be affected by climate change and what are the controlling factors. These results facilitate meaningful insights for investment and adaptation strategies in sustaining world’s food security under climate change.