Sustainability 2013, 5(5), 2129-2151; doi:10.3390/su5052129
Article

The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s

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Received: 29 March 2013; in revised form: 19 April 2013 / Accepted: 2 May 2013 / Published: 10 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 40th Anniversary of 'The Limits to Growth')
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Abstract: Population growth and climate change are likely to impact upon food and water availability over the coming decades. In this study we use an ensemble of climate simulations to project the implications of both these drivers on regional changes in food and water. This study highlights the dominant effect of population growth on per capita resource allocation over climate induced changes in our model projections. We find a strong signal for crop yield reductions due to climate change by the 2050s in the absence of CO2 fertilisation effects. However, when these additional processes are included this trend is reversed. The impacts of climate on water resources are more uncertain. Overall, we find reductions in the global population living in water stressed conditions due to the combined effects of climate and CO2. Africa is a key region where projected decreases in runoff and crop productivity from climate change alone are potentially reversed when CO2 fertilisation effects are included, but this is highly uncertain. Plant physiological response to increasing atmospheric CO2 is a major driver of the changes in crop productivity and water availability in this study; it is poorly constrained by observations and is thus a critical uncertainty.
Keywords: climate; carbon dioxide; CO2 fertilisation; food security; water resources; population change; Africa
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wiltshire, A.J.; Kay, G.; Gornall, J.L.; Betts, R.A. The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s. Sustainability 2013, 5, 2129-2151.

AMA Style

Wiltshire AJ, Kay G, Gornall JL, Betts RA. The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s. Sustainability. 2013; 5(5):2129-2151.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wiltshire, Andrew J.; Kay, Gillian; Gornall, Jemma L.; Betts, Richard A. 2013. "The Impact of Climate, CO2 and Population on Regional Food and Water Resources in the 2050s." Sustainability 5, no. 5: 2129-2151.

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