Holding the global increase in temperature caused by climate change well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels, the goal affirmed by the Paris Agreement, is a major societal challenge. Meanwhile, food security is a high-priority area in the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which could potentially be adversely affected by stringent climate mitigation. Here we show the potential negative trade-offs between food security and climate mitigation using a multi-model comparison exercise. We find that carelessly designed climate mitigation policies could increase the number of people at risk of hunger by 160 million in 2050. Avoiding these adverse side effects would entail a cost of about 0.18% of global gross domestic product in 2050. It should be noted that direct impacts of climate change on yields were not assessed and that the direct benefits from mitigation in terms of avoided yield losses could be substantial, further reducing the above cost. Although results vary across models and model implementations, the qualitative implications are robust and call for careful design of climate mitigation policies taking into account agriculture and land prices.
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S.Fujimori, T.H. and K.T. are supported by JSPS KAKENHI Grant Number JP16K18177, JSPS Overseas Research Fellowships and the Environment Research and Technology Development Fund (2-1702) of the Environmental Restoration and Conservation Agency of Japan. J.Després and A.S. are funded by the European Commission. All other authors received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 642147 (CD-LINKS). The views expressed are purely those of the writer and may not in any circumstances be regarded as stating an official position of the European Commission.
The authors declare no competing interests.
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Supplementary Notes, Supplementary Figs. 1–16, Supplementary Tables 1–3, Supplementary Refs. 1–20
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Fujimori, S., Hasegawa, T., Krey, V. et al. A multi-model assessment of food security implications of climate change mitigation. Nat Sustain 2, 386–396 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-019-0286-2
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