Joint Department of Agriculture/NCAR Report on Climate and Food Security Wildly Successful

Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - 12:00pm
Joint Department of Agriculture/NCAR Report on Climate and Food Security Wildly Successful
Joint Department of Agriculture/NCAR Report on Climate and Food Security Wildly Successful
Joint Department of Agriculture/NCAR Report on Climate and Food Security Wildly Successful

"Never before has agriculture faced challenges of this magnitude. We've all seen the statistics: nine billion people by 2050. Feeding these new citizens will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural productivity. We must do all of this in the face of climate change that is threatening the productivity and profitability of our farms, ranches and forests." A sobering message said by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack upon last December’s release of the international report Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System.

Published and presented at last year’s United Nations Climate Conference in Paris, this report, a collaboration between NCAR, the Department of Agriculture (USDA), and the University Corporation for Atmospheric, has received much attention. Three NCAR scientists—Claudia Tebaldi, Caspar Ammann and Brian O’Neill—served as co-authors.

Like locusts on wheat, the media—broadcast, radio, print and on-line—ate up this report. From Scientific American, to the Food Engineering Magazine, to Iranian.com (a human rights website), it continues to receive a lot of buzz. According to Margaret Walsh, an ecologist in USDA's Climate Change Program Office and one of the authors of the report, this has been the most-read scientific report the Department of Agriculture has ever produced.  It is being incorporated into the USDA’s longer-term strategic plans and interdepartmental activities.

“The challenges we face in addressing food security only increase in a changing climate.  Training tomorrow’s scientific leaders to address the shifting relationships between food production, trade, affordability, safety, and nutrition, is a top priority.”

- Dr. Margaret Walsh

In July, The USDA and NCAR, will hold a week-long workshop in the context of the report. Entitled “Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System,” this workshop will include physical and social scientists and will feature lectures from domain experts, hands-on Geographic Information Systems (GIS) training, a poster session, and a field trip. It will provide an opportunity for seasoned researchers, graduate students, early career scientists, and underrepresented individuals to share their knowledge and experience to promote collaborations among the participants and NCAR researchers.

“The challenges we face in addressing food security only increase in a changing climate.  Training tomorrow’s scientific leaders to address the shifting relationships between food production, trade, affordability, safety, and nutrition, is a top priority,” Dr. Walsh said.

More information on the workshop can be found here: https://www.ral.ucar.edu/events/2016/climate-change-global-food-security-and-the-us-food-system