One of the first studies to examine the effects of climate change on multiple food systems – instead of one food system alone – reveals that about 90% of the world’s human population (7.2 billion people) may lose food production in both agriculture and marine fisheries by 2100.
Fewer than 3% of people live in regions where increased productivity is predicted for both sectors, under climate change.
The findings could lead to policy recommendations that more accurately reflect the balance of gains and losses in food production and provide additional incentives for major CO2 emitters to prioritize climate change mitigation.
Lauric Thiault et al. used the vulnerability framework developed in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to predict changes in maize, rice, soy, and wheat agricultural crops in 240 countries, states, or territories, as well as to predict changes in marine fisheries in 194 locations.
The researchers note that although food productivity losses would be inevitable in many climate change scenarios, they would be considerably lower under a strong climate mitigation scenario.