Skip to main content Accesibility Help
×
×
Home

Climate change and sustainable food production

  • Pete Smith (a1) and Peter J. Gregory (a2) (a3)
Abstract

One of the greatest challenges we face in the twenty-first century is to sustainably feed nine to ten billion people by 2050 while at the same time reducing environmental impact (e.g. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, biodiversity loss, land use change and loss of ecosystem services). To this end, food security must be delivered. According to the United Nations definition, ‘food security exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life’. At the same time as delivering food security, we must also reduce the environmental impact of food production. Future climate change will make an impact upon food production. On the other hand, agriculture contributes up to about 30% of the anthropogenic GHG emissions that drive climate change. The aim of this review is to outline some of the likely impacts of climate change on agriculture, the mitigation measures available within agriculture to reduce GHG emissions and outlines the very significant challenge of feeding nine to ten billion people sustainably under a future climate, with reduced emissions of GHG. Each challenge is in itself enormous, requiring solutions that co-deliver on all aspects. We conclude that the status quo is not an option, and tinkering with the current production systems is unlikely to deliver the food and ecosystems services we need in the future; radical changes in production and consumption are likely to be required over the coming decades.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Climate change and sustainable food production
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Climate change and sustainable food production
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Climate change and sustainable food production
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Corresponding author
* Corresponding author: Professor Pete Smith, fax +44 1224 272703; email pete.smith@abdn.ac.uk
References
Hide All
1. Godfray, HCJ, Beddington, JR, Crute, IR et al. (2010) Food Security: the challenge of feeding 9 billion people. Science 327, 812818.
2. Smith, P, Martino, D, Cai, Z et al. (2008) Greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture. Phil Trans R Soc B 363, 789813.
3. Frenken, K & Kiersch, B (2011) Monitoring Agricultural Water Use at Country Level. Experiences of a Pilot Project in Benin and Ethiopia. FAO Land and Water Discussion Paper 9. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation. Available at http://www.fao.org/nr/water/docs/FAO_LW_Discussion_Paper_9.pdf (accessed 15 August 2012).
4. FAO (2010) Final Document: International Scientific Symposium Biodiversity and Sustainable Diets: United Against Hunger, 3–5 November 2010. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation.
5. WHO (2004) Global Strategy on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Rome: World Health Organisation. Available at http://www.who.int/dietphysicalactivity/strategy/eb11344/en/index.html (accessed 15 August 2012).
6. Firbank, L, Bradbury, R, Jenkins, A et al. (2011) Enclosed farmland [chapter 7]. In: UK National Ecosystem Assessment. Understanding Nature's Value to Society. Technical Report, pp. 197239. Cambridge: UNEP-WCMC.
7. Bruinsma, J (editor) ( 2003) World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030, an FAO Perspective. London: Earthscan Publications.
8. Smith, P, Gregory, PJ, van Vuuren, D et al. (2010) Competition for land. Phil Trans R Soc B 365, 29412957.
9. Garnett, T & Godfray, C (2012) Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture. Navigating a Course through Competing Food System Priorities. Oxford, UK: Food Climate Research Network and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food, University of Oxford.
10. Ericksen, PJ (2008) Conceptualizing food systems for global environmental change research. Global Environ Change 18, 234245.
11. Rosegrant, MW, Paisner, M, Meijer, S et al. (2001) 2020 Global Food Outlook: Trends, Alternatives and Choices. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
12. Hazell, P & Wood, S (2008) Drivers of change in global agriculture. Phil Trans R Soc B 363, 495515.
13. von Braun, J, Rosegrant, MW, Pandya-Lorch, R et al. (2005) New Risks and Opportunities for Food Security: Scenario Analyses for 2015 and 2050. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute.
14. Gregory, PJ, Ingram, JSI & Brklacich, M (2005) Climate change and food security. Phil Trans R Soc B 360, 21392148.
15. Ingram, JSI, Gregory, PJ & Izac, A-M (2008) The role of agronomic research in climate change and food security policy. Agric Ecosyst Environ 126, 412.
16. Bellarby, J, Foereid, B, Hastings, A et al. (2008) Cool Farming: Climate Impacts of Agriculture and Mitigation Potential, p. 43. Amsterdam, NL: Greenpeace International.
17. Smith, P, Martino, D, Cai, Z et al. . (2007a) Agriculture [Chapter 8]. In Climate change 2007: Mitigation. Contribution of Working group III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, pp. 497540 [Metz, B, Davidson, OR, Bosch, PR, Dave, R and Meyer, LA, editors], Cambridge, UK/New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press.
18. Smith, P, Martino, D, Cai, Z et al. (2007b) Policy and technological constraints to implementation of greenhouse gas mitigation options in agriculture. Agric Ecosyst Environ 118, 628.
19. FAO (2002) World Agriculture: Towards 2015/2030. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation.
20. Mosier, A & Kroeze, C (2000) Potential impact on the global atmospheric N2O budget of the increased nitrogen input required to meet future global food demands. Chemosphere-Global Change Sci 2, 465473.
21. US-EPA (2006) Global Anthropogenic non-CO2 Greenhouse Gas Emissions: 1990–2020. EPA 430-R-06-005. Washington, DC: United States Environmental Protection Agency.
22. Wang, B, Neue, H & Samonte, H (1997) Effect of cultivar difference on methane emissions. Agric Ecosyst Environ 62, 3140.
23. Smith, P (2008) Land use change and soil organic carbon dynamics. Nutr Cycl Agroecosyst 81, 169178.
24. Smith, P (2012a) Agricultural greenhouse gas mitigation potential globally, in Europe and in the UK: what have we learned in the last 20 years? Global Change Biol 18, 3543.
25. FAO (2009) State of Food Insecurity in the World 2009. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation.
26. Nelson, GC, Rosegrant, MW, Koo, J et al. (2009) Climate Change. Impact on Agriculture and Costs of Adaptation, p. 19. Washington, DC: International Food Policy Research Institute, pp. 19.
27. Smith, P & Olesen, JE (2010) Synergies between mitigation of, and adaptation to, climate change in agriculture. J Agric Sci 148, 543552.
28. Evans, LT (1998) Feeding the Ten Billion: Plants and Population Growth. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
29. Vitousek, PM, Naylor, R, Crews, T et al. (2009) Nutrient imbalances in agricultural development. Science 324, 15191520.
30. Myers, RJK, Palm, CA, Cuevas, E et al. . (1994) The synchronization of nutrient mineralization and plant nutrient demand. In The Biological Management of Tropical Soil Fertility, pp. 81116 [Woomer, PL and Swift, MJ, editors]. Chichester: John Wiley & Sons.
31. Pimental, D, Jurd, LE, Bellotti, AC et al. (1973) Food production and the energy crisis. Science 182, 443449.
32. Spedding, CRW & Walsingham, JM (1976) The production and use of energy in agriculture. J Agric Econ 27, 1930.
33. Pimental, D & Pimental, MH (2008) Food, Energy and Society, 3rd ed., Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
34. Hoeppner, JW, Entz, MH, McConkey, BG et al. (2005) Energy use and efficiency in two Canadian organic and conventional crop production systems. Renew Agric Food Syst 21, 6067.
35. Smith, P (2012b) Delivering food security without increasing pressure on land. Global Food Security (In the Press).
36. Tilman, D, Balzer, C, Hill, J et al. (2011) Global food demand and the sustainable intensification of agriculture. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 108, 2026020264.
37. Foresight (2011) The Future of Food and Farming. Final Project Report. London: The Government Office for Science.
38. IAASTD (2008) International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development: Executive Summary of the Synthesis Report. Available at http://www.agassessment.org/index.cfm?Page=About_IAASTD&ItemID=2 (accessed 15 August 2012).
39. Porter, JR, Challinor, A, Ewert, F et al. (2010) Food security: focus on agriculture. Science 328, 172173.
40. Foley, JA, Ramankutty, N, Brauman, KA et al. (2011) Solutions for a cultivated planet. Nature 478, 337342.
41. Cassman, KG, Dobermann, A & Walters, DT (2002) Agroecosystems, nitrogen-use efficiency, and nitrogen management. Ambio 31, 132140.
42. Wirsenius, S, Azar, C & Berndes, G (2010) How much land is needed for global food production under scenarios of dietary changes and livestock productivity increases in 2030? Agric Syst 103, 621638.
43. Royal Society of London (2009) Reaping the Benefits: Science and the Sustainable Intensification of Global Agriculture. London: Royal Society.
44. FAO (2006) World Agriculture Towards 2030/2050. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organisation.
45. Stehfest, E, Bouwmann, L, van Vuuren, D et al. (2009) Climate benefits of changing diet. Clim Change 95, 83102.
46. Willett, WC (2001) Eat, Drink, and be Healthy: The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating. New York: Simon & Schuster.
47. Popp, A, Lotze-Campen, H & Bodirsky, B (2010) Food consumption, diet shifts and associated non-CO2 greenhouse gases from agricultural production. Global Environ Change 20, 451462.
48. Gill, M, Smith, P & Wilkinson, JM (2010) Mitigating climate change: the role of domestic livestock. Animal 4, 323333.
49. Macdiarmid, J, Kyle, J, Horgan, G et al. (2011) Livewell: A Balance of Healthy and Sustainable food Choices. London: WWF-UK. Available at http://assets.wwf.org.uk/downloads/livewell_report_jan11.pdf (accessed 15 August 2012).
50. Gustavsson, J, Cederberg, C, Sonesson, U et al. (2011) Global Food Losses and Food Waste. Extent, Causes and Prevention. Rome: Food and Agriculture Organization. Available at http://www.fao.org/docrep/014/mb060e/mb060e00.pdf (accessed 15 August 2012).
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Proceedings of the Nutrition Society
  • ISSN: 0029-6651
  • EISSN: 1475-2719
  • URL: /core/journals/proceedings-of-the-nutrition-society
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed