Agriculture: Better Management Of Energy And Resources Required, Say Researchers

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Agriculture could see drops in yield of as much as 18% by 2050 - in terms of calories harvested - as a result of climate change, new research predicts.

 

As Eco Business points out, with the global population expected to have risen more than 18% by that time, the consequences could be calamitous.

 

However, the effects of climate change on the world's agriculture system are somewhat uncertain, with researchers saying that yields could have risen by 3% come the turn of the half-century.

 

But that would still mean widespread hunger and poverty, with a large part of the world requiring increases in irrigation which exceed 25%.

 

"Our new study is the first to examine at a global scale whether the adaptations required from agricultural systems are in the transformational range, and whether these transformations are robust across certain plausible scenarios," said David Leclère, a researcher at the International Institute for Systems Analysis (IIASA), who conducted the study.

 

Through putting together climate and yield projections with the IIASA Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM) - a global model that includes land use, trade, consumption, water resources, and other factors - the researchers identified the likely needed adaptations and transformations for global agricultural systems.

 

Michael Obersteiner, IIASA ecosystems services and management program director and a co-author of the study, says the key lies in how energy and resources are managed.

 

"We need to explore new and uncertainty-proof paradigms for long-term decision-making, and we also need a much better understanding of how to manage crucial resources such as water, which may become dramatically scarcer much earlier than previously thought," he stressed.

 

The study looked at nine different climate scenarios, 18 crops and four management systems and the interactions between crop production, consumption, prices and trade.

 

GLOBIOM is a global, recursively dynamic, and partial equilibrium model that integrates the agricultural, bioenergy, and forestry sectors.

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