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Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Title: Meeting the food, energy, and water demands of nine billion people: Will climate change add a new dimension?

item Hatfield, Jerry

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/1/2011
Publication Date: 12/9/2011
Citation: Hatfield, J.L. 2011. Meeting the food, energy, and water demands of nine billion people: Will climate change add a new dimension?. American Geophysical Union (AGU) Fall Meeting 2011, San Francisco, CA, Dec. 5-9, 2011. CD-ROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Climate change will add a new stress to our ability to produce food and supply water and energy for the expanding population. There is an emerging gap between the current production trends in food commodities around the world and the projected needs to meet the demands for the world population. This also translates into a water gap as well because it will require an increasing amount of water to produce this food. There is emerging evidence that the rising temperatures will reduce our potential for increasing food production because the optimal temperature for plant growth will be exceeded. This will be accompanied by an increase in water use because of the increasing rates of water use by plants in a warming environment. These factors will further increase the gap between supply and demand. To offset these impacts will require comprehensive adaptation strategies linking food production systems to climate change. Climate change will create scenarios with increasing variability in both the spatial and temporal components of precipitation and temperature. The spatial variability in precipitation being experienced around the world in the past five years will be expected to increase and impact both food and water supplies. These trends, along with an increase in extreme events, will further exacerbate the stress on water availability and ultimately on food and energy production. The nexus of food, energy, and water demands of an increasing world population is complex because of the interactions among climate parameters and these demands. Considering the interactions among these parameters adds even more complexity to how we have to consider adaptation strategies to ensure an adequate food supply and efficient use of water and energy. Structuring policy to develop potential solutions to ensure an increasing food supply and more efficient use of water and energy will require a more integrated approach to understanding the dynamics of food, water, and energy systems across the backdrop of a changing climate and increasing world population.