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

  • 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.

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Author:Katja Frieler, Anders Levermann, Joshua Elliot, Jens Heinke, Almut ArnethORCiDGND, Marc F. P. Bierkens, Philippe Ciais, Douglas B. Clark, Delphine Deryng, Petra DöllORCiDGND, Pete Falloon, Balázs M. Fekete, Christian Folberth, Andrew D. Friend, Catrin Gellhorn, Simon N. GoslingORCiDGND, Ingjerd Haddeland, Nikolay Khabarov, Marc R. Lomas, Yusuke Masaki, Kazuya Nishina, Kathleen Neumann, Taikan Oki, Ryan Pavlick, Alex C. Ruane, Erwin Schmid, Christoph Schmitz, Tobias StackeORCiD, Elke Stehfest, Qiuhong TangORCiD, Dominik Wisser, Veronika Huber, Franziska Piontek, Lila Warszawski, Jacob Schewe, Hermann Lotze-Campen, Hans Joachim Schellnhuber
Parent Title (German):Earth System Dynamics Discussions
Publisher:Copernicus Publications
Place of publication:Göttingen
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2016/12/22
Date of first Publication:2014/09/26
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2016/12/22
Page Number:25
First Page:1075
Last Page:1099
Institutes:Geowissenschaften / Geographie / Geowissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung 3.0