The purpose of this report is to address the need for a simplified way to present and explain the
linkages between climate change and the various components.
To achieve this goal, this report was developed under the following guiding principles:
1. The analysis is based on the scientific evidence and conclusions from the IPCC Fourth
Assessment Report (AR4).
1 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), Article 2
The Impacts of Climate Change on Food Production: A 2020 Perspective - ii
The latest IPCC Assessment Report was published in 2007, presenting the scientific view
on the current state of knowledge on climate change. “For their efforts to build up and
disseminate greater knowledge about man-made climate change, and to lay the foundations
for the measures that are needed to counteract such change” the IPCC was honored with the
Nobel Peace Prize that same year.
2. The analysis uses the business-as-usual path the world is currently following.
The IPCC developed a set of scenarios2 to project the long-term impacts of climate change.
These scenarios are a combination of demographic, social, economic and technological
components, which use the end of the 21st century as a target.
After analyzing in detail each of these scenarios, none of them considers the path the world
is currently following. Thus, the selection of the current business-as-usual path for the
3. The assessment of the impacts of climate change is based on a short-term target. Thus, the
selection of 2020 as the target year.
Some key data was updated, and current levels of growth were considered (e.g.: emission
levels, population) to estimate projections for the next decade. Also, concrete figures (e.g.:
global food production and consumption) were included to better reflect the projected
The sources used to meet the information update requirements were publications from
United Nations organizations, namely the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Population Division of the Department of
Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, the United Nations
Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and The World Bank.
All sources for each citation are included as footnotes.
In addition, human beings are at the core of this publication. Without putting a human face to it,
climate change may continue to be perceived as an abstract issue. It is not.