Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate

May 22, 2014

By: Gerald Nelson, Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; Expert Advisory Group

On May 22, 2014, The Chicago Council on Global Affairs released a report urging the US government to take action to curb the risks climate change poses to global food security. It explains how higher temperatures, changes in rainfall and natural disasters caused by climate change could undermine food production and put food supplies at risk. In total, climate change could reduce food production growth by 2 percent each decade for the rest of this century. The report was released at The Chicago Council’s Global Food Security Symposium 2014.

The report, Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate, calls on the US government to integrate climate change adaptation into its global food security strategy. Recommendations include:

  • Passing legislation for a long-term global food and nutrition security strategy.  
  • Increasing funding for agricultural research on climate change adaptation. Research priorities should include improving crop and livestock tolerance to higher temperatures and volatile weather, combating pests and disease and reducing food waste.
  • Collecting better data and making information on weather more widely available to farmers. There are significant global data gaps right now on weather; water availability, quality, and future requirements; crop performance; land use; and consumer preferences.
  • Increasing funding for partnerships between US universities and universities and research institutions in low-income countries, to train the next generation of agricultural leaders.
  • Advancing international action through urging that food security be addressed through the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals.  

A bipartisan group of scientific, business, and policy leaders led by former Congressmen Dan Glickman (D), former US Secretary of Agriculture, and Doug Bereuter, president emeritus of The Asia Foundation (R), endorsed the report’s recommendations. Gerald C. Nelson, a leading expert on climate change and food security, was the principal author.

Generous support for the report was provided by The Bill and & Melinda Gates Foundation and PepsiCo.

Advancing Global Food Security in the Face of a Changing Climate

About the Author