Climate and Environment

Current food systems have severe implications for land use, resource sustainability, and climate change for the future. The outlook for low and middle income countries for crop yields impacted by climate change ahd climate-related disasters are much worse than high-income countries.

This section presents selected data on key trends on climate and environment:

  1. Changing climate
  2. Trends in yields
  3. Land use changes
  4. Freshwater withdrawals
  5. Greenhouse Gas emissions
  6. Trends in climate related disasters

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Land Use and Diet

Even with a universal application of the HHEP diet, producing enough protein for the future requires an increase of land – creating serious environmental consequences.

Source: KC KB, Dias GM, Veeramani A, Swanton CJ, Fraser D, Steinke D, et al. (2018) When too much isn’t enough: Does current food production meet global nutritional needs? PLoS ONE 13(10): e0205683. 

Crop Yields and Climate Change

Climate change may significantly reduce yields in the long run. Specifically for low and middle income countries, most impacts for crop yield impacts are negative, increasing further into the future.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.

Freshwater Withdrawals

Water withdrawals for agriculture account for 70% of all withdrawals. In some low-rainfall areas, about 80-90% of the water is used for agricultural purposes.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.

Changes in Agricultural Production

Compared with the baseline, climate change is expected to result in declines in agricultural production in large parts of Africa, the Middle East and South and Southeast Asia. These declines are projected to be more pronounced in West Africa and India, where production could decrease by 2.9 and 2.6 percent respectively due to climate change impacts.

Source: FAO. 2018. The State of Agricultural Commodity Markets 2018. Agricultural trade, climate change and food security. Rome.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

In 2010, emissions from AFOLU were estimated at 10.6 gigatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent. The sector produces an estimated 21% of global GHG emissions.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.

Climate-related Disasters

The increase in climate-related events like floods, droughts, and storms in the past 30 years is of particular concern to agriculture.

Source: FAO. 2017. The future of food and agriculture – Trends and challenges. Rome.