Importance of Natural Resources

How to feed the world in 2050: actions in a changing climate

The state of our earth can be defined by how much climate change it experiences and by the total amount of food that is available through agriculture and trade. The world has increased its agricultural production over the past centuries. At the same time it is undergone climate change, partly as a result of activities related to agriculture. In 1850 the climate had not yet begun to change due to human activities, and food production was low. After 1950 world food production rose dramatically. Before 2000 we began to see evidence of human induced climate change, our climate will continue to change, given the greatly increased levels of greenhouse gases already in our atmosphere. Extreme events such as high temperatures, droughts and floods are already more frequent and severe. faced with growing demand for food fodder and bioenergy crops, many agriculture systems deplete soil fertility, biodiversity and water resources. Many regions exhibit large gaps between potential and actual crop yields. The path our world takes in the future depends on the choices we make. to be sustainable in the long term, the world must stay within certain limits this frontier curve represents the maximum amount of food we can grow under a given climate. If we do the best we can on every bit of land. It declined steeply under extreme climate change, which will have an adverse overall effect on agricultural production in the next few decades. Climate change will bring us toward and perhaps over critical food security thresholds in many regions. Areas currently suffering from food insecurity will be hit worst. This curve represents how much food we need to ensure everyone on earth has adequate nutrition. The world’s population will increase to around 9 billion by mid-century. It curves up under high climate change as we will need more food to make up for greater crop losses due to climate variability and pest outbreaks. This curve represents the effect of increasing food production on climate change. As we clear more land for crops, apply more artificial fertilizer, and have larger livestock herds, the climate impact already nearly a third of current climate change increases. A sustainable future must be located within the space defined by these three limits. This is the safe space. Today on a planet that grows sufficient food for all; a billion people go hungry. Another billion over consume increasing risks of chronic diseases. One third of all food harvested is lost or wasted. Food waste in industrialized countries is almost as high as total net food production in sub-saharan Africa. We are not in a safe space. This is where the world is heading by mid-century, unless we make some big changes. Hundreds of millions will remain undernourished, and we will be perilously close to the limits of food production. We can take actions to enlarge the safe space, and move the planet within its boundaries. First, by eliminating waste in the food chain, increasing equity and access to food, and shifting to vegetable rich diets that demand fewer resources, we can reduce the amount of food we need, by investing in agricultural research and development, we can increase the amount of food we grow; we can also expand the safe space, by adapting cropping systems to hotter climates through innovations such as improved crop genetics, and careful matching of crops to environments. Ever higher average global temperatures will result in less greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced across a wide range of human activities. Agriculture must do its share. By carefully intensifying production on existing agricultural land, we can reduce on-site emissions and reduce deforestation. Sustainable intensification will help close the food yield gap, while reducing emissions per unit of food produced. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors, not only agriculture and forestry, we can slow down the onset and potential impacts of climate change. By implementing all these actions together, it is possible for Earth to survive and prosper in the long term; even the substantially larger human population that it will carry in 40 years time. We must transition the world into the safe operating space, through collective decisions and actions. Our most powerful actions for meeting food security needs while reducing environmental impacts include improving crop yields, reducing waste, changing diets, adapting to climate change, and reducing agricultural greenhouse gas emissions. We can achieve food security in the face of climate change, learn about key actions for moving into the safe space, and explore successful innovations from around the world.

Reader Comments

  1. Good video. I particularly like acknowledgement that dietary habits need to change, rather than seeing just a response to demands (e.g more meat) as presently. I'm glad this purely demand driven obsession is now being questioned. I suggest managing populations of plants (or animals) hosts, pathogens, pests be more emphasised rather than 'improved' germplasm strategies that displace remaining diversity in highly variable climates to come. And that traditional systems be studied for solutions.

  2. Wisful thinking, as long as we don't stop population growth and economic growth. Humanity is in a horrendous overshoot situation. We need to stop growth and start organised contraction, slowing down, demechanisation, relocalisation of production and consumption and return to wortk in the primary sector of food and fibre production, if we want to have a chance to survive on the Post Abundance Downslope.

  3. I enjoyed and I agree. Several actions has to be done in that directions and the NGOs can make the differences. People has to believe they have to make the change not only wait the gov.

  4. I was with him until he mentioned improved crop genetics, which sounds conspicously like genetic manipulation (GM crops) which I am 100% against

  5. not every crop genetics refer to transgenic biotechnology… What Mendel did is crop genetics and that is not bad… traditional crop improvement IS crop genetic manipulation… It all depends on how you transform the crop by what means and what purposes you intend… please stop considering crop genetics the same as frankencrops

  6. this video tries to be inspiring and i like that it shows some of the things we need to work on. but the content doesn't make sense on the chart what so ever.

  7. Thanks for the reply. I know we have been tampering with the genetics of our food crops since the "beginning" but within the bounds of natural biology. the socalled frankencrops is what scares the crap out of me. If what Mendel meant was crop improvement by selective "breeding" while maintaining genetic diversity then that is ok by me.

  8. Lots of information to think about. Talks about problems and solutions. I'm not sure what I can do to fix this situation. Grow my own garden veggies? Last summer's garden was eaten my moles. I wish our leaders will take notice before its too late to fix the problems.

  9. It's basically a production possibilities frontier, a basic economic model used to show the possible combinations of factors of production that can be achieved in an economy.

  10. This is really good and so true, but there is a big obstacle about how people changing their diets and important crop yields could happen in some area not for all. It is not easy to just change diets without nutrition researching.

  11. Why not put population awareness and birth control here as another very important way to expand the "safe space"?

  12. Great info, I would add industry pollution, fuel consumption and some other pollution sources… human must learn to use efficiently natural resources and diminish the overuse of other resources…

  13. Thanks to corporations and corrupt politicians and judges, the political will to do what is necessary before devastation will occurs is too lacking. The only remedy I can see is that people need to take the necessary steps themselves to secure their futures. Our solution is at .

  14. In developing countries like mine, climate change remains the major threat for small scales farmers. By 2050, I don't think if they will be able to produced food to meet their needs.

  15. If you desire to lose weight quickly, you might want to Google "Avon Fat Furnace". You are going to achieve the body you deserve.

  16. True I was wondering that, what about all that food waste, if we used that and had better redistribution of the food we already have we could be feeding a lot more people.

  17. This video makes a lot of good points but I think that the most important change that needs to happen is how Westerners eat.  This can affect the climate as well as our health care system.  For more details check this book I just came across:

  18. GMO CROPS is a great deal. Think about it seriously. Eliminate hazardous substances from GMO. Make sure that it will not affect any thing. Don't worry about it. There is a campaign against it. But it is totally blind, politically motivated reasons. We are consuming them but we don't know.

  19. Or.. we could have less people? Why are we catering for an evergrowing population. Realistically we won't need to make drastic changes to the way we produce, (not that it's not a good idea.) A control of our curve of growth would solve many problems on it own. Not a very popular idea, as most people believe in ther right to have as many children as they please, even if they do not have the means to care for them. In the long run even if all the big corporations of the earth, decided to get all goodie two shoes, evetually the graph will be people… vs the amount of food we can produce to FEED them. Just a thought.

  20. This video addresses consequences not causes!!!!! A recent United Nations report on how to feed the world in 2050 stated that we would need to invest US$83 billion a year in agriculture to feed the growing population in 2050. The cheapest alternative to this is simple…. voluntary contraception. Fully meeting the need for modern contraceptive services worldwide would cost $9.4 billion and this would include the estimated 225 million women who want to avoid a pregnancy who are not using an effective contraceptive method.. Providing full contraceptive access worldwide would mean unintended pregnancies would drop by 70%, from 74 million to 22 million per year and avoid more of the consequences of an overpopulated Earth including the need for more food and climate change.

  21. We can change our agriculture by decentralising it.
    This video it's an other green revulution, this is not the solution, there is lot of solution the problem is that they make the life hard for small growers to start their own farm. By the way they could grow locally and feed their community, relieving the burden of big mega farms to want to feed the world. Their is not one solution but hundreds of them. The scientist will save the world hunger, I do believe that the scientist have good intention, but in their laboratory they are far from the big picture. Trying to make seeds that resist to pest will never cunterbalance the problems, that will only increase overtime a worst negative feedback. Anyway hopefully we will keep on going and improve our way to relate to nature.

  22. Safe-space? or existing-space?. I think we nust be stay in the left-down corner of the area as much as possible. Is it?

  23. Europe does not have a shortage of vegetable food stuffs; it has an unnecessary un productive surplus excess population. U.K. and Europe in general cannot feed it's new artificial population explosion. Governments will offer any excuse but the right one. Global Market gibberish, Grocery stores chasing the sun etc., Europe must now feed a great percentage of Africa and the Middle East in the new domestic demographics.

    Libya could make a fortune exporting and selling food crops but instead they export refugees to countries who can barely afford to take care of their own population but want to appear to be generous do gooders and show the world their Global liberal one up-manship. The arrogant do- gooders of this world do more harm to the world with their un intended consequences than any war or disease ever could.

    Europeans are the most obedient group of sheeple in the history of mankind and that is what got them in so much trouble playing follow the leaders during world war II; and they are doing it again with Merkle in Germany. Europe could not leave well enough alone, Europeans have never learned the lesson "If it ain't broke don't fix it" European countries have now lost their sovereignty to the E.U. and now they are losing food off of their tables to recalcitrant Muslim invaders, But then Europe is used to that.

    Europe and the rest of the overcrowded overpopulated world does not realize is that the pesticides and herbicides that we use to force crops to supply an ever expanding hungry world are killing us with cancer and autism caused by the chemicals we put inside the crops we eat and the air we breath and the water we drink. While consumers go to hospitals the chemical companies are laughing all the way to the bank. Still the west is proud of it’s overpopulated and unruly ill educated demographics.

    The government and the chemical companies are more than happy to place the blame on phony "climate change" to take the heat of of the multinational chemical companies who promote global governance where chemical companies only have to deal with one set of laws that they themselves will make in the international treaties and world courts they create.

  24. God created the earth and filled it with food for everyone to eat. The reason there is poverty is because the heart of humans are full of selfishness and lust over riches so they make wars after wars and starve people to death. Change the hearts of men, and you will have more food.

  25. This is a Wonderful video. Thank You. Sadly it's going to take some time still before the masses agree that we human's are the problem, and we all start working together to be the solution. I wonder how the history books will view us. Right now we have at our finger tip access to everything we need to make an informed decision based on facts not and opinion, and yet so many are so terribly uninformed.

  26. Thank you for this education – I didn't realise. My son and I have been vegetarian for 6 weeks now and thriving on our new diet regime 🙂

  27. All of the answers to those dilemmas the States has in the form of advanced technological innovations, such as the air-to-water maker, the bottled and canned oxygen and UV disinfection robots. They have all the cleaning aids to grow crops, but they're holding them back. Why? Because they don't have any food, which happens because they shit everywhere and allow Ebola to be in the land, sea, and air, which I believe is contributing to climate change. When they hold those technologies back then countries respond likewise by holding on to food stables, such as glass gem corn, palm tree kale, butter coconuts, yams, pink velvet bananas, etc. They're the cause of the food insecurity in the world and for themselves.

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