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'Big Facts' demonstrate where climate change and agriculture meet

Ensuring food security under climate change will require adaptations that address food availability, food access and food use (© Neil Palmer (CIAT))
Ensuring food security under climate change will require adaptations that address food availability, food access and food use
© Neil Palmer (CIAT)

The CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has launched a set of 'Big Facts' that highlight the complex relationship between agriculture and climate change. "It is well understood that climate change has an enormous impact of what we can grow and eat. Conversely, the global food system - from production to transportation and refrigeration - emits up to a third of human-generated greenhouse gases," says Sonja Vermeulen, the head of research at CCAFS. "We scoured the latest research to identify the best and most current scientific knowledge. The result is a set of need-to-know facts that quickly and accurately crystallise the undeniable relationship between climate change and food security."

The 30 'Big Facts' cover undernourishment, dietary change, food waste, and the impacts of climate change on water, crops, livestock, fisheries, forests and food security, demonstrating why it's impossible to address climate change without including agriculture, and vice versa. One 'Big Fact' is that roughly one-third of food produced for human consumption (1.3 billion tonnes per year) is lost or wasted globally, the equivalent of six to ten per cent of human-generated greenhouse gas emissions. Other facts include: to meet global food demand by 2050, agricultural production must be 60 per cent higher by weight than in 2005; the potential yield loss for grain is about five per cent for each degree Celsius of global warming; and soils of croplands, grazing lands and rangelands can store between 1,500 and 4,500 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per year.

Date published: December 2012

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