Food Security Chapter of the IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land 

Aug 20, 2019


A new IPCC Special Report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems, was released on August 8, 2019, in Geneva, Switzerland. 

Cynthia Rosenzweig, AgMIP Executive Committee Member, was Coordinating Lead Author on the Food Security Chapter, together with Erik Mencos Contreras, AgMIP Project Coordinator, who served as Chapter Scientist and Contributing Author. 

“Something very new in the report really was to take a look at the food system as a whole from the production side, from the supply chain side. How does the food get to people, and what kind of greenhouse gas emissions are associated with transport and packaging, and retail, and storage. All of those also provide opportunities for reduction in greenhouse gas emissions”, Rosenzweig mentioned in an interview.

The report emphasizes that climate change is affecting all four pillars of food security: 

  1. availability (yield and production)
  2. access (prices and ability to obtain food)
  3. utilization (nutrition and cooking)
  4. and stability (disruptions to the other pillars).

Reducing higher-impact diets could, for example, help avoid deforestation and reduce emissions. Rosenzweig mentioned in an interview with Inside Climate Week that “diets present major opportunities for reducing greenhouse gases as well, because diets that are rich in plant-based foods emit lower greenhouse gases than diets that are very heavy in red meat consumption”. 

Overall, the report highlights that coordinated action to address climate change can at the same time improve land, food security and nutrition, and help to end hunger.  

“An overall focus on sustainability coupled with early action offers the best chances to tackle climate change. This would entail low population growth and reduced inequalities, improved nutrition and lower food waste’’, according to IPCC Newsroom.

The report can be downloaded here:

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) is available here: