Global Food Security in a Changing Climate: Considerations and Projections
Abstract:Global food security is an elusive challenge and important policy focus from the community to the globe. Food is provisioned through food systems that may be simple or labyrinthine, yet each has vulnerabilities to climate change through its effects on food production, transportation, storage, and other integral food system activities. At the same time, the future of food systems is sensitive to socioeconomic trajectories determined by choices made outside of the food system, itself. Constrictions for any reason can lead to decreased food availability, access, utilization, or stability – that is, to diminished food security. Possible changes in trade and other U.S. relationships to the rest of the world under changing conditions to the end of the century are considered through integrated assessment modelling under a range of emissions scenarios.
Climate change is likely to diminish continued progress on global food security through production disruptions leading to local availability limitations and price increases, interrupted transport conduits, and diminished food safety, among other causes. In the near term, some high-latitude production export regions may benefit from changes in climate.
The types and price of food imports is likely to change, as are export demands, affecting U.S. consumers and producers. Demands placed on foreign assistance programs may increase, as may demand for advanced technologies.
Adaptation across the food system has great potential to manage climate change effects on food security, and the complexity of the food system offers multiple potential points of intervention for decision makers at every level. However, effective adaptation is subject to highly localized conditions and socioeconomic factors, and the technical feasibility of an adaptive intervention is not necessarily a guarantee of its application if it is unaffordable or does not provide benefits within a relatively short time frame.