We assess scientific evidence that has emerged since the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2009 Endangerment Finding for six well-mixed greenhouse gases and find that this new evidence lends increased support to the conclusion that these gases pose a danger to public health and welfare.
Sugarcane area is currently expanding in Brazil, largely in response to domestic and international demand for sugar-based ethanol. To investigate the potential hydroclimatic impacts of future expansion, a regional climate model is used to simulate 5 years of a scenario in which cerrado and cropland areas (~1.1E6 km2) within south-central Brazil are converted to sugarcane. Results indicate a cooling of up to ~1.0°C during the peak of the growing season, mainly as a result of increased albedo of sugarcane relative to the previous landscape.
Perennial crops are among the most valuable of California’s diverse agricultural products. They are also potentially the most influenced by information on future climate, since individual plants are commonly grown for more than 30 years. This study evaluated the impacts of future climate changes on the 20 most valuable perennial crops in California, using a combination of statistical crop models and downscaled climate model projections.
The increasing global demand for biofuels will require conversion of conventional agricultural or natural ecosystems. Expanding biofuel production into areas now used for agriculture reduces the need to clear natural ecosystems, leading to indirect climate benefits through reduced greenhouse-gas emissions and faster payback of carbon debts. Biofuel expansion may also cause direct, local climate changes by altering surface albedo and evapotranspiration, but these effects have been poorly documented.
Biomass-derived energy offers the potential to increase energy security while mitigating anthropogenic climate change, but a successful path toward increased production requires a thorough accounting of costs and benefits. Until recently, the efficacy of biomass-derived energy has focused primarily on biogeochemical consequences.
Recent work has shown that current bio-energy policy directives may have harmful, indirect consequences, affecting both food security and the global climate system. An additional unintended but direct effect of large-scale biofuel production is the impact on local and regional climate resulting from changes in the energy and moisture balance of the surface upon conversion to biofuel crops.
Future trajectories of food prices, food security, and cropland expansion are closely linked to future average crop yields in the major agricultural regions of the world. Because the maximum possible yields achieved in farmers' fields might level off or even decline in many regions over the next few decades, reducing the gap between average and potential yields is critical. In most major irrigated wheat, rice, and maize systems, yields appear to be at or near 80% of yield potential, with no evidence for yields having exceeded this threshold to date. A
Converting forest lands into bioenergy agriculture could accelerate climate change by emitting carbon stored in forests, while converting food agriculture lands into bioenergy agriculture could threaten food security. Both problems are potentially avoided by using abandoned agriculture lands for bioenergy agriculture. Here we show the global potential for bioenergy on abandoned agriculture lands to be less than 8% of current primary energy demand, based on historical land use data, satellite-derived land cover data, and global ecosystem modeling.
The effect of elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) on crop yields is one of the most uncertain and influential parameters in models used to assess climate change impacts and adaptations. A primary reason for this uncertainty is the limited availability of experi- mental data on CO2 responses for crops grown under typical field conditions. However, because of historical variations in CO2, each year farmers throughout the world perform uncontrolled yield experiments under different levels of CO2. In this study, measure-
For the 1980–2003 period, we analyzed the relationship between crop yield and three climatic variables (minimum temperature, maximum temperature, and precipitation) for 12 major Californian crops: wine grapes, lettuce, almonds, strawberries, table grapes, hay, oranges, cotton, tomatoes, walnuts, avocados, and pistachios. The months and climatic variables of greatest importance to each crop were used to develop regressions relating yield to climatic conditions. For most crops, fairly simple equations using only 2–3 variables explained
Changes in the global production of major crops are important drivers of food prices, food security and land use decisions. Average global yields for these commodities are determined by the performance of crops in millions of fields distributed across a range of management, soil and climate regimes.
Most research on the agricultural impacts of climate change has focused on the major annual crops, yet perennial cropping systems are less adaptable and thus potentially more susceptible to damage. In regions where perennial crops are economically and culturally important, improved assessments of yield responses to future climate are needed to prioritize adaptation strategies. These impact assessments, in turn, must rely on climate and crop models that contain often poorly defined uncertainties.