Sonali McDermid gives Capitol Hill Briefing

Mar 17, 2016


By: Shari Lifson

On January 20th, the American Meteorological Society hosted a Congressional briefing on Climate Change and Food Security as part of their ongoing Capitol Hill Briefing Series. In attendance was Prof. Bill Easterling, Dean of College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at Penn State University; Prof. Ed Carr, Director of International Development, Community, and Environment Dept. of Clark University, and Assistant Professor Sonali McDermid, AgMIP Climate Co-Lead and Resource Person for the South India Regional Integrated Assessment Team.

The purpose of the briefing was multifold: to review findings from the newly released Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System report led by the USDA as a contribution to the U.S. National Climate Assessment; to articulate current risks to the global and regional food systems; and to review future projections of climate change and food security. Integral to each of these topics was the role and participation of AgMIP and its cross-cutting modeling initiatives and activities at multiple scales.

Photo credit: Roberto Tanella and Special arrangement.

Dr. Sonali McDermid represented and overviewed AgMIP modeling activities, and presented preliminary findings from AgMIP’s Regional Integrated Assessments, as well as global crop and economic modeling efforts, and shed light on the methods and findings from AgMIP’s contribution to the US Food Systems Report. During the day, meetings were held with representatives from the Congressional Research Service, and House and Senate Agricultural Staffers and Committee members, who were all receptive to the presented AgMIP results and methods, and were encouraging of continued AgMIP efforts, scaling and integration of activities, particularly as they applied to assessing U.S Food System dynamics and overall Food Security.

The day concluded with a Public Briefing and included representatives from private industry, as well as national and university research centers. Specific questions and comments related to the future and security of the livestock industry; the development and implementation of adaptation strategies; and quantifying the effects climate variability and extreme events on future food security, both domestically and abroad – all topics that AgMIP has been actively pursuing and integrating into it’s coordinated assessment framework. AgMIP’s presence, represented by Dr. McDermid, was therefore important and salient to these discussions, and continued efforts will be important further contributions to future releases of the Climate Change, Global Food Security and the U.S. Food System reports. Much interest was generated in brainstorming ways and means of continued support for AgMIP’s Coordinated Global and Regional Integrated Assessments of Climate Change and Food Security.