Discussion Paper

No. 2013-17 | February 22, 2013
US Food Security and Climate Change: Agricultural Futures
(Published in Special Issue Food Security and Climate Change)


Agreement is developing among agricultural scientists on the emerging inability of agriculture to meet growing global food demands. The lack of additional arable land and availability of freshwater have long been constraints on agriculture. However, the increased frequency of extreme and unpredictable weather events, in a manner consistent with the changes predicted by global climate models, is expected to exacerbate the global food challenge as we move toward the middle of the 21st century. These climate- and constraint-driven crop production challenges are interconnected within a complex global economy, where diverse factors add to price volatility and food scarcity. The present report projects the impact of climate change on food security through the year 2050. The analysis presented here suggests that climate change in the first half of the 21st century does not represent a near-term threat to food security in the US due to the availability of adaptation strategies. However, as climate continues to trend away from 20th century norms current adaptation measures will not be sufficient to enable agriculture to meet growing food demand. High-end projections on carbon emissions will exacerbate the food shortfall, although uncertainty in climate model projections (particularly precipitation) is a limitation to impact studies.

JEL Classification:

Q17, Q54


  • Downloads: 3321


Cite As

Eugene S. Takle, David Gustafson, Roger Beachy, Gerald C. Nelson, Daniel Mason-D’Croz, and Amanda Palazzo (2013). US Food Security and Climate Change: Agricultural Futures. Economics Discussion Papers, No 2013-17, Kiel Institute for the World Economy. http://www.economics-ejournal.org/economics/discussionpapers/2013-17

Comments and Questions

Eugenia Serova, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations - Reader report
March 05, 2013 - 11:05

The paper is dedicated to a very acute topic of impact of the climate changes on agricultural production; the topic is considered by example of the USA, one of the biggest agricultural producers in the world. The authors use four global climate models in order to simulate the change ...[more]

... in US climate and assess the impacts on production of four key crops in the first half of 21 century. The paper is very well illustrated by simulation maps; visualization of the model results is very high. The paper is based on a quite good reference list. The conclusions are seemed to be relevant and reliable.

At the same time, we would recommend to notably improve the structure of the paper. The own approach for modelling should be clearly described at the beginning of the paper and evidently distinguished from the results of the other models’ simulations. The majority of maps are not supplied with sufficient explanations. For the works dealing with model simulation the assumptions are very important, but the authors of referred paper do not provide any discussion regarding their assumptions. Also it is not clear what type of input data was used for modelling. All of this reduces a value of findings for the readers.

Also we would like to stress that the authors assess an impact of climate change on food security in the USA. Not clear how the results in production of the key crops discussed in the paper can affect food security of the country which is a major net exporter of these crops (not to say that cotton production is least important for food security). On the other side, farmers’ income issue is completely not addressed. In spite of small climate based changes in overall US production of the crops under consideration, the regional changes in production are predicted in presented scenarios and these changes can have critical effects on farm income distribution.

There are several minor comments which we inserted into the original text of the paper (see attached file). Only two of them worth to mentioned here. Abstract of the paper does not present the actual content of the paper. Equally Conclusions are not based on the findings of the paper, contain the quotations from other authors and are quite poor for the paper p[resenting such profound and expanded study.

Gbadebo Odularu - Reader comment
March 08, 2013 - 10:59

see attached file

Anonymous - referee report 1
April 12, 2013 - 08:53

see attached file

Eugene S. Takle, David Gustafson, Roger Beachy, Gerald C. Nelson, Daniel Mason-D’Croz, and Amanda Palazzo - Response to reviewer commtents
August 07, 2013 - 09:54

see attached file

Eugene S. Takle, David Gustafson, Roger Beachy, Gerald C. Nelson, Daniel Mason-D’Croz, and Amanda Palazzo - Revised version of dp 2013-17
August 07, 2013 - 09:56

see attached file