Challenges and research gaps in the area of integrated climate change risk assessment for European agriculture and food security: FACCE MACSUR Policy Brief 3



Priorities in addressing research gaps and challenges should follow the order of im­por­tance, which in itself would be a matter of defining goals and metrics of importance, e.g. the extent, impact and likelihood of occurrence. For improving assessments of cli­mate change impacts on agriculture for achieving food security and other sustainable develop­ment goals across the European continent, the most important research gaps and challen­ges appear to be the agreement on goals with a wide range of stakeholders from policy, science, producers and society, better reflection of political and societal prefer­ences in the modelling process, and the reflection of economic decisions in farm manage­ment within models. These and other challenges could be approached in phase 3 of MACSUR.

Climate change will affect human well-being and welfare through the impact on agricul­tural production of food, feed, and bioeconomy resources and as well as on the ecosystem and social services of rural agriculture. Associations among the many facets of agricultural production are non-linear and involve synergies and tradeoffs. In addition, these associa­tions may vary across a heterogeneous, large spatial and political arena like Europe. For improved assessments of climate change impacts, existing modelling and assessment methodologies will have to be extended (or in specific cases new ones developed) to accommodate these heterogeneities and interactions.

Assessments at spatial scales of farm level or greater must include socio-economic aspects at time-scales greater than one year. At these scales, within-year and production-unit (plants, animals, plots) variation is dampened and variation in political settings, consumer attitudes and national economies, availability of resources, and value of products move to the fore.

FACCE MACSUR researchers identified needs for research to improve integrated assessments for information of policy, producers, consumers in five areas: (a) assessment criteria, (b) generalization of existing and new knowledge, (c) political and societal settings, (d) on-farm processes (generation of outputs from available resources, including their variation and disturbances), and (e) assessing implications of sub-optimal and technology-improved food production for global food security.

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