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Food security report wins USDA award

International experts highlight climate risks to food system

Sep 22, 2016 - by Staff

BOULDER, Colo. — A comprehensive report warning of the impacts of climate change on the world's food security has won a top U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) award.

"Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System," with co-authors from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), provides an overview of recent research in climate change and agriculture. It warns that warmer temperatures and altered precipitation patterns can threaten food production, disrupt transportation systems, and degrade food safety, among other impacts, and that the world's poor and those living in tropical regions are particularly vulnerable.

Report on climate and food wins major USDA award: group picture of winnersMichael Scuse, USDA acting deputy secretary (center), with members of the team of experts who produced the award-winning report, "Climate Change, Global Food Security, and the U.S. Food System." Those pictured are (back row from left): William Easterling (The Pennsylvania State University), Edward Carr (Clark University), and Peter Backlund (Colorado State University); front row from left: Rachel Melnick (USDA), Margaret Walsh (USDA), Scuse, Moffat Ngugi (U.S. Agency for International Development/USDA), and Karen Griggs (NCAR). (Photo by USDA.)


The USDA this month named it as the winner of the 2016 Abraham Lincoln Honor Award for Increasing Global Food Security. The Abraham Lincoln Honor Award is the most prestigious USDA award presented by the Secretary of Agriculture, recognizing noteworthy accomplishments that significantly contribute to the advancement of the USDA's strategic goals, mission objectives, and overall management excellence.

The report was produced as part of a collaboration between NCAR, the USDA, and the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR), which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation. It was written by 32 experts from 19 federal, academic, nongovernmental, intergovernmental, and private organizations in the United States, Argentina, Britain, and Thailand. The authors included three NCAR scientists, as well as eight experts affiliated with UCAR member universities.

"This award highlights the importance of addressing climate change in order to maintain the progress the world has made on food security in recent decades," said NCAR program director Lawrence Buja, who helped oversee production of the report. "Scientists will continue to study this critical issue and work with decision makers to co-develop the information they need about potential climate impacts on future production, distribution, and other aspects of our U.S. and global food systems."

Published under the auspices of the U.S. Global Change Research Program, the reportfocuses on identifying climate change impacts on global food security through 2100. The authors emphasize that food security — the ability of people to obtain and use sufficient amounts of safe and nutritious food — will be affected by several factors in addition to climate change, such as technological advances, increases in population, the distribution of wealth, and changes in eating habits.

"Climate change has a myriad of potential impacts, especially on food, water, and energy systems," said UCAR President Antonio J. Busalacchi. "I commend the authors of this report for clearly analyzing this very complex issue in the agriculture sector, which has implications for all of society, from the least developed nations to the most advanced economies."

Report authors

Molly Brown, University of Maryland*
John Antle, Oregon State University*
Peter Backlund, Colorado State University *
Edward Carr, Clark University
Bill Easterling, Pennsylvania State University*
Margaret Walsh, USDA Office of the Chief Economist/Climate Change Program Office
Caspar Ammann, NCAR
Witsanu Attavanich, Kasetsart University
Chris Barrett, Cornell University*
Marc Bellemare, University of Minnesota*
Violet Dancheck, U.S. Agency for International Development
Chris Funk, U.S. Geological Survey
Kathryn Grace, University of Utah*
John Ingram, University of Oxford
Hui Jiang, USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Hector Maletta, Universidad de Buenos Aires
Tawny Mata, USDA/American Association for the Advancement of Science
Anthony Murray, USDA-Economic Research Service
Moffatt Ngugi, U.S. Agency for International Development/USDA Foreign Agricultural Service
Dennis Ojima, Colorado State University*
Brian O'Neill, NCAR
Claudia Tebaldi, NCAR

*UCAR member university

Report project team

Lawrence Buja, NCAR
Karen Griggs, NCAR 

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