Introduction

Climate change will not confront a static world. Humans respond to changes in their natural and economic environment and often make themselves better off by doing so, a responsiveness clearly evident in agriculture. As human populations grew and spread over past millennia, food production was expanded into far corners of the world, feeding growing populations in strikingly diverse environments and climates. This ability of humanity to adapt agriculture to new climates is evidence to many that climate change poses no fundamental threat to agriculture - that clever humans, as in centuries past, will simply adapt agriculture to its new growing conditions.

But the magnitude and speed of climate change that is expected over the next century raises serious questions about how much agriculture can be adapted to new climates, how quickly, and at what cost. Will simple farm-level measures such as switching crop varieties be enough to offset expected losses in much of the world? Or will larger investments in crop breeding or irrigation infrastructure be needed to meet

M. Burke (H) and D. Lobell 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_8, © Springer Science + Business Media, B.V. 2010

the food needs of a growing global population? Or could even these efforts fall short? Such questions are central to both anticipating the full impacts of climate change on food security and human livelihoods, and in planning appropriate responses.

This chapter will explore potential adaptations to climate change that might improve food security, where "adaptation" is understood to mean any response that improves an outcome (Reilly and Schimmelpfennig 2000). Many possible adaptations involve direct changes to agricultural systems, such as changing when and where crops are grown. But because food security involves much more than just food production (Chapter 2), we also consider various broader responses to climate change that might improve food security, such as improving social safety nets that protect the poor in adverse years.

Of central interest is the potential of these measures to offset many of the anticipated negative effects of climate change on food security, and in particular the extent to which such adaptations will happen more or less on their own (so called 'autonomous adaptation') as opposed to requiring significant investment and foresight for them to occur ('planned adaptation'). For instance, if we expect farmers to automatically recognize climate shifts and react in ways that offset expected losses, then the need for outside investment and policy intervention in adaptation is small. But if we expect farmers to have trouble responding on their own, and that this inability appears to threaten global or regional food security, then there would seem a pressing need to understand what broader investments in adaptation would be required.

Unfortunately, there is little existing quantitative evidence on the ability of adaptation to improve food security outcomes in the face of climate change, with large uncertainties surrounding both the potential gains from various adaptation measures and the extent to which they will be undertaken autonomously. Particularly difficult is disentangling the relationship between farmer responses to climate variability, which occur continually, and their likely longer run responses to changes in mean climate. Below we review the existing theory and evidence surrounding agricultural adaptation to climate change, and attempt to draw lessons both for investment priorities and for future research needs.

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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