RISKS TO FOOD AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS FROM CLIMATE POLICIES: AN INTEGRATED ASSESSMENT OF REGIONAL FOOD AVAILABILITY AND ACCESS WITH ALTERNATIVE CLIMATE MITIGATION STRATEGIES TO 2050
Hultman, Nathan E.
Gilmore, Elisabeth A.
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Although mitigating GHG emissions is necessary to reduce the overall negative climate change impacts on crop yields and agricultural production, certain mitigation measures may generate unintended consequences to food availability and access due to land use competition and economic burden of mitigation. Prior studies have examined the co-impacts on food availability and global producer prices caused by alternative climate policies. More recent studies have looked at the reduction in total caloric intake driven by both changing income and changing food prices under one specific climate policy. However, due to inelastic calorie demand, consumers’ well-being are likely further reduced by increased food expenditures. Built upon existing literature, my dissertation explores how alternative climate policy designs might adversely affect both caloric intake and staple food budget share to 2050, by using the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) and a post-estimated metric of food availability and access (FAA). My dissertation first develop a set of new metrics and methods to explore new perspectives of food availability and access under new conditions. The FAA metric consists of two components, the fraction of GDP per capita spent on five categories of staple food and total caloric intake relative to a reference level. By testing the metric against alternate expectations of the future, it shows consistent results with previous studies that economic growth dominates the improvement of FAA. As we increase our ambition to achieve stringent climate targets, two policy conditions tend to have large impacts on FAA driven by competing land use and increasing food prices. Strict conservation policies leave the competition between bioenergy and agriculture production on existing commercial land, while pricing terrestrial carbon encourages large-scale afforestation. To avoid unintended outcomes to food availability and access for the poor, pricing land emissions in frontier forests has the advantage of selecting more productive land for agricultural activities compared to the full conservation approach, but the land carbon price should not be linked to the price of energy system emissions. These results are highly relevant to effective policy-making to reduce land use change emissions, such as the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD).