The relevance of uncertainty in future crop production for mitigation strategy planning

Frieler, K.; Levermann, A.; Elliott, J.; Heinke, J.; Arneth, A.; Bierkens, M.F.P.; Ciais, P.; Clark, D.B.; Deryng, D.; Döll, P.; Falloon, P.; Fekete, B.; Folberth, C.; Friend, A.D.; Gellhorn, C.; Gosling, S.N.; Haddeland, I.; Khabarov, N.; Lomas, M.; Masaki, Y.; Nishina, K.; Neumann, K.; Oki, T.; Pavlick, R.; Ruane, A.C.; Schmid, E.; Schmitz, C.; Stacke, T.; Stehfest, E.; Tang, Q.; Wisser, D.; Huber, V.; Piontek, F.; Warszawski, L.; Schewe, J.; Lotze-Campen, H.; Schellnhuber, H.J.. 2014 The relevance of uncertainty in future crop production for mitigation strategy planning. Earth System Dynamics Discussions, 5 (2). 1075-1099. 10.5194/esdd-5-1075-2014

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In order to achieve climate change mitigation, long-term decisions are required that must be reconciled with other societal goals that draw on the same resources. For example, ensuring food security for a growing population may require an expansion of crop land, thereby reducing natural carbon sinks or the area available for bio-energy production. Here, we show that current impact-model uncertainties pose an important challenge to long-term mitigation planning and propose a new risk-assessment and decision framework that accounts for competing interests. Based on cross-sectorally consistent simulations generated within the Inter-Sectoral Impact Model Intercomparison Project (ISI-MIP) we discuss potential gains and limitations of additional irrigation and trade-offs of the expansion of agricultural land as two possible response measures to climate change and growing food demand. We describe an illustrative example in which the combination of both measures may close the supply demand gap while leading to a loss of approximately half of all natural carbon sinks. We highlight current limitations of available simulations and additional steps required for a comprehensive risk assessment.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.5194/esdd-5-1075-2014
CEH Sections: Reynard
ISSN: 2190-4995
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - Official URL link provides full text
NORA Subject Terms: Agriculture and Soil Science
Date made live: 20 Jan 2015 10:19 +0 (UTC)

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