Areas of West Africa and the Sahel stand out as regions with very high rates of food insecurity and with a very high dependence on agriculture, but also with a fair amount of uncertainty regarding climate change impacts, Burke said. For these regions, you get half of the climate models telling you its going to get wetter and the other half giving you the opposite. As a result, our study raises the potential for very bad impacts in these regions but with much less certainty than in other regions.
The study also pointed to a few developing regions, such as the temperate wheat-growing areas of China, that could benefit in the short run from climate change, he added.
Investing for change
In the face of these uncertainties, where should organizations be investing money, and what kind of adaptation investments make the most sense"
There are the sure bets, such as maize in Southern Africa and rice in Southeast Asia, where all models agree that impacts will be negative, Lobell said. Then there are those cases where things could get really bad, such as for sorghum in the Sahel or millets in Central Africa, but where we are less certain. In the end, if a choice has to be made, individual institutions will have to decide for themselves whether to pursue the sure bets or the riskier but potentially high-payoff investments.
The study arrived at a particularly useful time, said co-author Rosamond Naylor, director of FSE and senior fellow at Stanfords Woods Institute for the Environment. The international donor community is starting to invest once again in agricultural productivity in the developing world, and our study will help show where these investments might be the most worthwhile, she said. We know we cant do everything right away, but this helps us know whe
|Contact: Mark Shwartz|