Making the Paris agreement climate targets consistent with food security objectives

Jonathan C. Doelman*, Elke Stehfest, Andrzej Tabeau, Hans van Meijl

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Climate change mitigation is crucial to limit detrimental impacts of climate change on food production. However, cost-optimal mitigation pathways consistent with the Paris agreement project large-scale land-based mitigation for bio-energy and afforestation to achieve stringent climate targets. Land demand from land-based mitigation leads to competition with food production, raising concerns that climate policy (SDG13 – climate action) conflicts with food security objectives (SDG2 – zero hunger). In this study we use the computable general equilibrium model MAGNET and the IMAGE integrated assessment model to quantify the food security effects of large-scale land-based mitigation. Subsequently, we implement two measures to prevent reduced food security: increased agricultural intensification and reduced meat consumption. We show that large-scale land-based mitigation (∼600 Mha in 2050) leads to increased food prices (11%), reduced food availability (230 kcal/cap/day) and substantially more people at risk of hunger (230 million) compared to the baseline scenario in 2050, most notably in developing regions. Land-based mitigation also leads to yield increases (9%) and intensified ruminant production (11%). Additional crop yield improvement (9%) and intensification in ruminant production (3%) could prevent the negative effect of mitigation on food security. Introducing a reduction in meat consumption in high- and middle-income regions reduces required crop yield improvement (7%) and ruminant intensification (2%). Our study highlights the importance of transparency about food security effects in climate change mitigation scenarios. In addition, it provides an example of explicitly including measures to limit negative trade-offs in mitigation scenarios. In this way, we show how the Paris agreement can be made consistent with food security objectives and how multiple Sustainable Development Goals can be achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-103
Number of pages11
JournalGlobal Food Security
Volume23
Early online date28 Apr 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

    Fingerprint

Keywords

  • Agricultural intensification
  • Climate change
  • Diet change
  • Food security
  • Land-based mitigation

Cite this