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Food security outcomes under a changing climate: impacts of mitigation and adaptation on vulnerability to food insecurity (open access article)

Climate change is a potential threat to achieving food security, particularly in the most food insecure regions. However, interpreting climate change projections to better understand the potential impacts of a changing climate on food security outcomes is challenging. This paper addresses this challenge through presenting a framework that enables rapid country-level assessment of vulnerability to food insecurity under a range of climate change and adaptation investment scenarios.

The results show that vulnerability to food insecurity is projected to increase under all emissions scenarios, and the geographic distribution of vulnerability is similar to that of the present-day; parts of sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia are most severely affected. High levels of adaptation act to off-set these increases; however, only the scenario with the highest level of mitigation combined with high levels of adaptation shows improvements in vulnerability compared to the present-day.

The results highlight the dual requirement for mitigation and adaptation to avoid the worst impacts of climate change and to make gains in tackling food insecurity. The approach is an update to the existing Hunger and Climate Vulnerability Index methodology to enable future projections, and the framework presented allows rapid updates to the results as and when new information becomes available, such as updated country-level yield data or climate model output. This approach provides a framework for assessing policy-relevant human food security outcomes for use in long-term climate change and food security planning; the results have been made available on an interactive website for policymakers (www.metoffice.gov.uk/food-insecurity-index).