When Adaptation in Agriculture Is Not Enough

Even if all of the above adaptation measures are taken (perhaps a big if), food systems may still not be fully shielded from the negative effects of a changing climate. As a result, a final set of planned adaptations might involve strengthening social safety nets to deal with climate-related shocks to food systems when they inevitably occur.

The expansion of insurance products to farmers (explored above) would be a primary means for smoothing producer income in the face of climate induced productivity shortfalls. But what about agricultural wage laborers whose incomes typically fall in bad climate years (Jayachandran 2006), and rural and urban net-consumers who are hurt by rising food prices? Typical social safety nets in this context include public works programs that employ individuals who would otherwise lose significant income in the face of a climate shock; conditional cash transfer schemes, in which payments are made to households in the face of a shock, conditional on some behavior (e.g. sending their children to school); or food aid, where donors contribute either food or cash, which is then distributed to households (in the case of direct food aid) or used by various organizations to purchase food locally which is then distributed.

Operation of these safety nets is typically improved when programs are in place before a shock arrives, and when governments hold reserve funds for their operation (given that government revenues, and thus funding, can also decline in a bad year) (World Bank 2008). In the specific case of food aid, most research suggests cash-based food aid is a more efficient means of aid delivery in the face of shortfalls, although there are caveats (Barrett and Maxwell 2005).

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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