New Synthesis Report Highlights Implications of Climate Change for Agriculture

A new sum­mary report of the IPCC AR5 syn­the­sizes the impli­ca­tions of cli­mate change for the agri­cul­tural sec­tor. Cli­mate Change: Impli­ca­tions for Agriculture

The key find­ings are:

  • Climate-related impacts are already reduc­ing crop yields in some parts of the world, a trend that is pro­jected to con­tinue as tem­per­a­tures rise fur­ther. Crops affected include sta­ples such as wheat, maize and rice. Cli­mate change is pro­jected to increase price volatil­ity for agri­cul­tural com­modi­ties, and reduce food quality.
  • Farm­ers can adapt to some changes, but there is a limit to what can be man­aged. Adap­tive capac­ity is pro­jected to be exceeded in regions clos­est to the equa­tor if tem­per­a­tures increase by 3°C or more. The agri­cul­tural industry’s own inter­ests are best served by ambi­tious approaches to adap­ta­tion and to cut­ting emissions.
  • Green­house gas (GHG) emis­sions from agri­cul­ture com­prised about 10 – 12% of man-made GHG emis­sions in 2010. The sec­tor is the largest con­trib­u­tor of non-carbon diox­ide (non-CO 2 ) GHGs such as methane.
  • Oppor­tu­ni­ties for mit­i­ga­tion include reduc­ing emis­sions from land use change, land man­age­ment and live­stock man­age­ment. Car­bon can be cap­tured and stored in soil and bio­mass. Economy-wide emis­sions from energy use can be reduced, under cer­tain con­di­tions, by replac­ing fos­sil fuels with biofuels.
  • The poten­tial for reduc­ing GHG emis­sions from agri­cul­ture through changes in con­sump­tion could be sub­stan­tially higher than tech­ni­cal mit­i­ga­tion options. Approaches include reduc­ing food waste, chang­ing diets towards less GHG-intensive food (e.g. sub­sti­tu­tion of ani­mal prod­ucts with plant-based food), and reduc­ing over­con­sump­tion in regions where this is prevalent.

The Agri­cul­ture sum­mary is one of a series of thir­teen, cov­er­ing the impli­ca­tions of cli­mate change for indus­try, finance & the econ­omy, energy, tourism, built envi­ron­ments and agri­cul­ture. Although the infor­ma­tion pre­sented in each doc­u­ment is a ‘trans­la­tion’, it adheres to the sci­en­tific basis of the orig­i­nal IPCC document

The series can be found at http://europeanclimate.org/category/news/publications/