Thematic Spolight on...Food Security and Climate Change

Published on
January 23, 2023

Thematic brief research and writing: Titis Apdini

Editing: Abigail Muscat, Heather Mckhann, Ophélie Bonnet

Introductory text: Abigail Muscat

In over 10 years, FACCE-JPI has funded 153 projects. In this series of thematic spotlights, we analyse FACCE-JPI projects on a specific theme and focus on their key insights and publications. In this thematic piece we focus on the nexus between food security and climate change.

Background and Introduction

What is food security and what is its link to climate change?

With food security once again high on the political agenda, the definition of food security may seem obvious. While sometimes contested, food security is generally defined as existing "when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life” (FAO, 2008).

Food security and climate change are intimately linked, as food security can be negatively affected by climate change while richer diets are often associated with higher emissions (Poore & Nemecek, 2018).

Future food production will have to deal with high temperatures, drought, increased salinity, damage from extreme events and disruption in supply chains, therefore, having an effect on food security. As a consequence, mitigation of emissions from agriculture and adaptation to climate change will be needed.

While food security is negatively affected by climate change, food security scholars also consider how a growing global population with increasing demands for richer diets can be fed while mitigating climate change (Clark et al., 2020). They study the effects of various diets on climate change as well as a range of other measures such as reducing food waste and changing trade policies.

Energy production tied to land use can also impact food security and climate change. During the 2008 food price crisis, scientists, policymakers, and civil society hotly debated the so-called ‘’food vs fuel’’ issue (Rosegrant & Msangi, 2014). Today, the connections between energy production, land use and food security are understood to be more nuanced than the simple use of food crops for energy as impacts are affected by markets, geopolitics and land acquisitions (Rosegrant & Msangi, 2014).

This thematic piece brings together the key insights and publications of 3 FACCE-JPI projects on the theme of food security and climate change across a diverse set of contexts, namely connecting food production and nutrition for healthier and more sustainable diets, the impact of diets on land-use change and climate change and the impact of large-scale agricultural investments in Mozambique, Kenya and Madagascar on food security:

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