Introduction

Roughly a billion people around the world live their lives in chronic hunger, and humanity's inability to offer them sustained livelihood improvements has been one of its most obdurate shortcomings. Although rapid improvements in agricultural productivity and economic growth over the second half of the twentieth century brought food security to broad swaths of the developing world, other regions did not share in that success and remain no better off today - and in some cases worse off - than they were decades ago.

Progress in understanding why some of these countries emerged from poverty and food insecurity, and why others did not, has been similarly limited. Such questions are central to the economics discipline and have been an active area of research for centuries, but they have generated remarkably little consensus on how to effect the transition from poverty to wealth.

Much of the controversy arises because food security (and related measures of well-being) have multiple, complex determinants, with varying agreement on which causes are more or less important. But confronting this complexity is central to any understanding of the potential impacts of climate change on food security. For

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_2, © Springer Science + Business Media, B.V. 2010

instance, knowledge of the impacts of climate on crop yields alone is not enough to understand food security impacts, because food security is a product of complex natural and social systems in which yields play only one (albeit important) part. Instead, understanding climate change's full impact will require knowledge of its potential effects on both the proximate causes of food insecurity (e.g., low agricultural yields, low rural incomes) as well as on the more fundamental causes of poor economic progress (e.g., poorly-functioning institutions and markets, low education levels, high disease burden). Our goal in this chapter is not to assign priority among possible factors, but to outline how each might be affected by climate change and what in turn this could mean for progress towards achieving global food security.

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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