The impacts of climate change on the food system are a key concern for societies and policy makers globally. Assessments of the biophysical impacts of crop productivity show modest but uncertain impacts. But crop growth is not the only factor that matters for the food production. Climate impacts on the labour force through increased heat stress also need to be considered.
In this article, we provide projections for the integrated climate-induced impacts on crop yields and worker productivity on the agro-economy in a global multi-sector economic model.
Biophysical impacts are derived from a multi-model ensemble, which is based on a combination of climate and crop models, and the economic analysis is conducted for different socio-economic pathways. This framework allows for a comprehensive assessment of biophysical and socio-economic risks, and outlines rapid risk increases for high-warming scenarios.
Considering heat effects on labour productivity, regional production costs could increase by up to 10 percentage points or more in vulnerable tropical regions such as South and South-East Asia, and Africa. Heat stress effects on labour might offset potential benefits through productivity gains due to the carbon dioxide fertilisation effect. Agricultural adaptation through increased mechanisation might allow to alleviate some of the negative heat stress effects under optimistic scenarios of socio-economic development.
Our results highlight the vulnerability of the food system to climate change impacts through multiple impact channels. Overall, we find a consistently negative impact of future climate change on crop production when accounting for worker productivity next to crop yields.
Coastal loss and damage for small islands
This commentary on a paper in Nature Sustainability reviews how the study quantifies the impacts of sea-level rise on small island states and estimates the impacts in terms of cost, land loss and population exposure across all small islands worldwide.
Risks of synchronised low yields are underestimated in climate and crop model projections
This study finds that the jet stream – air currents in the upper atmosphere – can synchronise extreme weather caused by climate change, resulting in crop failures in multiple countries at the same time.
The deployment length of solar radiation modification: an interplay of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty
Here, we investigate the deployment timescales of solar radiation modification and how they are affected by different levels of mitigation, net-negative emissions and climate uncertainty.
Solar radiation modification: a dangerous distraction from required emissions reductions
Investing precious time and resources in this critical decade to explore SRM technologies distracts from the urgent need to step up mitigation efforts to halve emissions by 2030.
Emissions as usual: implications for the Safeguard Mechanism of LNG and coal mine projects
This report examines the implications of committed and proposed developments in the LNG and coal mining sectors for reform of Australia's Safeguard Mechanism.
Only halving emissions by 2030 can minimise risks of crossing cryosphere thresholds
Institutional decarbonisation scenarios evaluated against the Paris Agreement 1.5°C goal
This study analyses six institutional decarbonisation scenarios published between 2020 and mid 2021 (including four from the oil majors and two from the International Energy Agency. It finds that most of the scenarios would be classified as inconsistent with the Paris Agreement as they fail to limit warming to ‘well below 2 ̊C, let alone 1.5 ̊C, and would exceed the 1.5 ̊C warming limit by a significant margin.
Uncertainty in near-term temperature evolution must not obscure assessments of climate mitigation benefits
This work comments on a study by Samset et al. that found the effects of emission mitigation will only be perceived through global temperature with a multi-decadal delay. This paper provides additional context and expresses concerns with the approach.
An emission pathway classification reflecting the Paris Agreement climate objectives
When categorising pathways in line with the Paris Agreement, the focus has been put on the temperature outcome. Here we propose a pathway based on emission reduction objectives that reflect the climate criteria set out in the Paris Agreement.
No time for complacency: without closing the 2030 gap, net zero targets cannot prevent severe climate impacts
Fossil gas: a bridge to nowhere
This report assesses how fast fossil gas power generation must be phased out in different parts of the world to keep the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C temperature goal in reach.
Managing climate change risks to world heritage using the In Danger List: Griffith climate action beacon policy discussion paper
This paper considers how the World Heritage Convention’s ‘List of World Heritage in Danger’ could be used more effectively for managing sites threatened by climate change or where climate change has already caused significant degradation.