Modern global climate change
Alright, we know climate change will hurt agriculture, but how, where and what farmers will it hit the hardest? This morning, the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with a few answers.
The release from Kyoto focuses on the impacts, adaptations and vulnerability of the world population to the consequences of climate change. It marks the second in a series of three working group reports that together make up the Fifth Assessment report (AR5) from the IPCC. The panel will cap the project with a synthesis report this October.
The official version of the the Working Group II report can be found on Monday morning, but a draft scientists prepared in October 2013 had already been . It provides an unofficial but telling look into how the world’s best scientists have assessed the main risks put to agriculture.
All together, the panel many of the super-specific predictions that earned rebukes in the past like the claim that yields in some parts of Africa could drop as much as 50 percent by 2020. Instead, they struck a tone of well-founded risk assessment. This is a report for a savvy poker player — or maybe farm investor. It is not a piece of Biblical plague literature.
Still, the challenge feeding a growing population in a warming world only appears more daunting compared to the last report in 2007. Here’s why and what the IPCC thinks we might be able to do about it:
Climate change is already a burden for world agriculture
All these predictions wouldn’t mean much if current events didn’t back them up. The first sentence on the executive summary gets right to the point of the present: “negative impacts of climate trends have been more common ones.”
The list of farmers in the report who have already faced the pitfalls of climate change is a long one. Farmers in Bangladesh have watched rising waters. Arctic indigenous people have seen dwindling access to hunting grounds due to changing weather conditions. Small-scale farmers facing a 20-30-year period of drought in Ghana have stomached “emotional distress, ” and a “sense of loss.”