Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Christoph Müller et al., PNAS (2011), Climate change risks for African agriculture

Climate change risks for African agriculture

  1. Christoph Müllera
  2. Wolfgang Cramera
  3. William L. Harea,b, and
  4. Hermann Lotze-Campena
+Author Affiliations
  1. aEarth System Analysis, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, D-14412 Potsdam, Germany; and
  2. bClimate Analytics GmbH, D-14467 Potsdam, Germany
  1. Edited by Robert W. Kates, Independent Scholar, Trenton, ME, and approved February 8, 2011 (received for review October 9, 2010)


The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessment of major risks for African agriculture and food security caused by climate change during coming decades is confirmed by a review of more recent climate change impact assessments (14 quantitative, six qualitative). Projected impacts relative to current production levels range from −100% to +168% in econometric, from −84% to +62% in process-based, and from −57% to +30% in statistical assessments. Despite large uncertainty, there are several robust conclusions from published literature for policy makers and research agendas: agriculture everywhere in Africa runs some risk to be negatively affected by climate change; existing cropping systems and infrastructure will have to change to meet future demand. With respect to growing population and the threat of negative climate change impacts, science will now have to show if and how agricultural production in Africa can be significantly improved.

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