Introduction

This book has focused on the theory and data behind models used to evaluate climate change impacts, rather than on the output of such models. In part this was because knowing the output of models is of little help without an understanding of the capabilities and limitations of the underlying models, and in part because the current pace of new research on applications of models is so rapid that a book devoted to this topic is sure to be outdated in a few years. Yet we recognize that a current summary of the literature will be useful to most readers, and so here provide a brief review of recent findings. For more exhaustive reviews, the readers are encouraged to consult recent assessments by various international groups (e.g., Easterling et al. 2007).

As with any discussion of impacts, a useful starting point is to define the scale and variable of interest. As described in Chapter 2, most people in the world are net buyers of food, and consume diets dominated by the three main staples (rice, wheat, and maize). The prices of these commodities are therefore among the most relevant to food security. Most people also live in communities that trade beyond their local borders, in many cases with places across the globe. For this reason the price of food in given country often depends more on global supply and demand than on local production.

A global perspective is therefore critical to assessing climate change impacts, even if one is interested in a single country (Reilly et al. 1994). Yet assessments for

D. Lobell (H) and M. Burke Stanford University, CA, USA

D. Lobell and M. Burke (eds.), Climate Change and Food Security, Advances in Global Change Research 37, DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-2953-9_10, © Springer Science + Business Media, B.V. 2010

individual regions or countries can still be useful, in two main ways. First, they allow more detailed study of local climate and crop changes that can feed into global assessments, which often have very rough estimates of regional yield responses.1 Second, they can focus on local adaptation options that would improve local yields in the face of climate change, regardless of global price changes. This chapter therefore addresses both global and regional studies.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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