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Global Warming Effects on Irrigation Development and Crop Production : A World-Wide View



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Agricultural Sciences, 2015, 6, 734-747
Published Online July 2015 in SciRes.
How to cite this paper: De Wrachien, D. and Goli, M.B. (2015) Global Warming Effects on Irrigation Development and Crop
Production: A World-Wide Vie. Agricultural Sciences, 6, 734-747.
Global Warming Effects on Irrigation
Development and Crop Production:
A World-Wide View
Daniele De Wrachien1, Mudlagiri B. Goli2
1Department of Agricultural Engineering, State University of Milano, Milano, Italy
2Mississippi Valley State University, Itta Bena, USA
Received 26 June 2015; accepted 28 July 2015; published 31 July 2015
Copyright © 2015 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
Despite the enormous advances in our ability to understand, interpret and ultimately manage the
natural world, we have reached the 21st century in awesome ignorance of what is likely to unfold
in terms of both the natural changes and the human activities that affect the environment and the
responses of the Earth to those stimuli. One certain fact is that the planet will be subjected to
pressures hitherto unprecedented in its recent evolutionary history. The “tomorrow’s world” will
not simply be an inflated version of the “today’s world”, with more people, more energy consump-
tion and more industry, rather it will be qualitatively different from today in at least three impor-
tant respects. First, new technology will transform the relationship between man and the natural
world. An example is the gradual transition from agriculture that is heavily dependent on chemi-
cals to one that is essentially biologically intensive through the application of bio-technologies.
Consequently, the release of bio-engineered organisms is likely to pose new kinds of risks if the
development and use of such organisms are not carefully controlled. Second, society will be mov-
ing beyond the era of localized environmental problems. What were once local incidents of natural
resource impairment shared throughout a common watershed or basin, now involve many neigh-
boring countries. What were once acute, short-lived episodes of reversible damage now affect
many generations. What were once straightforward questions of conservation versus develop-
ment now reflect more complex linkages. The third major change refers to climate variations. It is
nowadays widely accepted that the increasing concentration of the so-called greenhouse gases in
the atmosphere is altering the Earth’s radiation balance and causing the temperature to rise. This
process in turn provides the context for a chain of events which leads to changes in the different
components of the hydrological cycle, such as evapotranspiration rate, intensity and frequency of
precipitation, river flows, soil moisture and groundwater recharge. Mankind is expected to re-
spond to these effects by taking adaptive measures including changing patterns of land use, adopt-
ing new strategies for soil and water management and looking for non-conventional water re-
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
sources (e.g. saline/brackish waters, desalinated water, and treated wastewater). All these prob-
lems will become more pronounced in the years to come, as society enters an era of increasingly
complex paths towards the global economy. In this context, engineers and decision-makers need
to systematically review planning principles, design criteria, operating rules, contingency plans
and management policies for new infra-structures. In relation to these issues and based on availa-
ble information, this report gives an overview of current and future (time horizon 2025) irrigation
and food production development around the world. Moreover, the paper analyses the results of
the most recent and advanced General Circulation Models for assessing the hydrological impacts
of climate variability on crop requirements, water availability and the planning and design process
of irrigation systems. Finally, a five-step planning and design procedure is proposed that is able to
integrate, within the development process, the hydrological consequences of climate change. For
researchers interested in irrigation and drainage and in crop production under changing climate
conditions, references have been included, under developments in irrigation section on Page 3.
Many climate action plans developed by few cities, states and various countries are cited for policy
makers to follow or to make a note off. Few citations are also included in the end to educate every
one of us, who are not familiar with the scientific work of our colleagues, related to global warm-
ing. The colleagues are from different areas, physics, mathematics, agricultural engineering, crop
scientists and policy makers in United Nations. Most of the citation links do open, when you click
on them. If it does not, copy and paste the link on any web browsers.
Global Warming Prediction Models, Irrigation, Food, Land and Water Shortage and Few Sample
Development Plans in Operation for Global Warming
1. Introduction
In recent years, climate change issues have become the focus of the world opinion. Early in the 1970s, scientists
had put forward climate warming as a global environmental issue. In 1988 the World Meteorological Organiza-
tion and the United Nations Environmental Program established “the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC)” [1] [2]. In 1992, the Rio Conference on Environment and Development passed “the United Na-
tions Framework Convention on Climate Change “(the so-called Convention on Climate Change)” which pre-
scribed that developed countries should combat climate change and its adverse effects [3]. Moreover, the Con-
vention declared that “responses to climate change should be coordinated with social and economic develop-
ment in an integrated manner for the achievement of sustained economic growth and the eradication of poverty”.
The Convention recognized that all countries, especially developing countries, needed access to resources re-
quired to achieve sustainable social and economic development (Yang, 2012) [4]. In this context, the role of
Agriculture is to meet the future challenges posed by food security by increasing production while conserving
natural resources.
In the past, the increased demand for food has been satisfied by the expansion of agricultural land. Today, the
prospects of increasing the gross cultivated area, in both the developed and developing countries are limited by
the dwindling number of economically attractive sites for new large-scale irrigation and drainage projects.
Therefore, any increase in agricultural production will necessarily rely largely on a more accurate estimation of
crop water requirements on the one hand, and on major improvements in the operation, management and per-
formance of existing irrigation and drainage systems, on the other hand.
The failings of present systems and the inability to sustainably exploit surface and ground water resources can
be attributed essentially to poor planning, design, systems management and development. With a population that
is expected to grow from 6 billion today to at least 8 billion by the year 2025, bold measures are essential if the
problems of irrigation systems and shortage of food are to be avoided.
Concerning agricultural development, most of the worlds 270 million ha of irrigated lands and 130 million ha
of rain-fed lands with drainage facilities were developed on a step-by-step basis over the centuries. Many of the
systems structures have aged or are deteriorating. Added to this, the systems have to withstand the pressures of
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
changing needs, demands and social and economic evolution. Consequently, the infrastructures in most irrigated
and drained areas need to be renewed or even replaced and thus redesigned and rebuilt, in order to achieve im-
proved sustainable production. This process depends on a number of common and well-coordinated factors,
such as advanced technology, environmental protection, institutional strengthening, economic and financial as-
sessment and human resource development. Most of these factors are well known and linked to uncertainties
associated with climate change, world market prices and international trade. All the above factors and con-
straints compel decision-makers to review the strengths and weaknesses of current trends in irrigation and drai-
nage and rethink technology, institutional and financial patterns, research thrust and manpower policy, so that
service levels and system efficiency can be improved in a sustainable manner.
2. Irrigation Development and the Global Food Challenge
To solve the above problems massive investments have been made over the last few decades by governments
and individuals and a concerted effort by the International Community. The challenge was to provide enough
food for 2 billion more people, while increasing domestic and industrial water demand. Different scenarios have
been developed to explore a number of issues, such as the expansion of irrigated agriculture, massive increases
in food production from rain-fed lands, water productivity trends and public acceptance of genetically modified
crops. Opinions differ among the experts as to some of the above issues. However, there is broad consensus that
irrigation can contribute substantially to increasing food production.
Today, the world’s food production comes from a cultivated area of about 1.5 billion ha, representing 12% of
the total land area (Schultz and De Wrachien, 2002) [5]. About 1.1 billion ha of cultivated land have no water
management systems, though this area supplies 45% of food production. At present irrigation covers 270 million
ha, i.e. 18% of the world’s arable land. Overall, irrigated land contributes to 40% of agricultural output and em-
ploys about 30% of population in rural areas. It uses about 70% of water withdrawn from global river systems.
About 60% of this water is used consumptively, the rest returning to the river systems. Drainage of rain-fed
crops covers about 130 million ha, i.e. 9% of the world’s arable land. In about 60 million ha of the irrigated
lands there is a drainage system, as well. The 130 million or so hectares of drained rainfed land produces around
15% of crop output.
2.1. Developments in Irrigation
Over the last forty years, the irrigation has been a major contributor to the growth of food and fiber supply for a
global population that has more than doubled, from 3 to over 6 billion people. Global irrigated area increased by
around 2% a year in the 1960s and 1970s, slowing down to around 1% in the 1980s, and lower still in the 1990s.
Between 1965 and 1995 the world’s irrigated land grew from 150 to 260 million ha. Nowadays it is increasing at
a very slow rate because of the significant slowdown in new investments, combined with the loss of irrigated
areas due to salination and urban encroachment.
Notwithstanding these achievements, today the majority of agricultural land (1.1 billion ha) still has no water
management system. In this context it is expected that 90% of the increase in food production will have to come
from existing cultivated land and only 10% from conversion from other uses. In the rainfed areas with no water
management systems some improvements can be achieved with water harvesting and watershed management.
However, in no way can the cultivated area with no water management contribute significantly to the required
increase in food production. For this reason, the share of irrigated and drained areas in food production will have
to increase. This can be achieved either by installing irrigation or drainage facilities in the areas without a sys-
tem or by improving and modernizing existing systems. The International Commission on Irrigation and Drai-
nage (ICID) estimates that within the next 25 years, this process may result in a shift of the contribution to the
total food production to around 30% for the areas with no water management system, 50% for the areas with an
irrigation system and 20% for the rainfed areas with a drainage system (Schultz, 2002) [6] [7]. Researchers/
readers interested in in irrigation and drainage and in crop production under changing climate conditions may
like to read articles quoted in [35] [37] [40] [47].
2.2. The Global Food Challenge
As the world population continues to grow so too does the need to constantly increase the food production. Sev-
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
eral actions are required to cope with this increasing demand. Globally, the core challenge must be to improve
water productivity. Where land is limiting, yields per unit area must also be enhanced. These measures lead to
two basic development directions [8]:
increasing the yield frontier in those areas where present levels of production are close to their potential;
closing the yield gap where considerable production gains can be achieved with current technology.
Based on the above assumptions, three models of food and irrigation water demand have been developed by
non-governmental organizations for the time horizon 2025 (Plusquellec, 2002) [9]. These three models predict
that present irrigated agriculture would have to increase by 15% - 22%. Moreover, water withdrawals for irriga-
tion are also expected to increase at unprecedented rates, a major challenge considering that environmentalists
argue that irrigation withdrawals should be reduced, as they have great expectations in the potential of biotech-
nology in agriculture.
Although the scenarios differ considerably, it is generally agreed that the world is entering the twenty-first
century on the brink of a new food crisis, as ominous, but far more complex, that the famine it faced in the
1960s. Some analysts believe that what is needed is a new and “greener revolution” to increase productivity
again and boost production. But the challenges are far more complex than simply producing more food, because
global conditions have changed since the green revolution years.
3. Climate and Climatic Change
3.1. The Greenhouse Effect
Over the past centuries, the Earth’s climate has been changing due to a number of natural processes, such as
gradual variation in solar radiation, meteorite impacts and, more importantly, sudden volcanic eruptions in
which solid matter, aerosols and gases are ejected into the atmosphere. Ecosystems have adapted continuously to
these natural changes in climate, and flora and fauna have evolved in response to the gradual modifications to
their physical surroundings, or have become extinct.
Human beings have also been affected by and have adapted to changes in local climate, which, in general
terms, have occurred very slowly. Over the past century, however, human activities have begun to affect the
global climate. These effects are due not only to population growth, but also to the introduction of technologies
developed to improve the standard of living. Human-induced changes have taken place much more rapidly than
natural changes. The scale of current climate forcing is unprecedented and can be attributed to greenhouse gas
emissions, deforestation, urbanization, and changing land use and agricultural practices. The increase in green-
house gas emissions into the atmosphere is responsible for the increased air temperature, and this, in turn, in-
duces changes in the different components making up the hydrological cycle such as evapotranspiration rate, in-
tensity and frequency of precipitation, river flows, soil moisture and groundwater recharge. Mankind will cer-
tainly respond to these changing conditions by taking adaptive measures such as changing patterns in land use.
However, it is difficult to predict what adaptive measures will be chosen, and their socio-economic conse-
quences [10]-[15].
Concern global patterns the following considerations can be drawn from analysis of the hydrologic and me-
teorological time series available:
Average global temperature rose by 0.6˚C during the 20th century [16].
1990’s was the warmest decade and 1998 the warmest year since 1861 [17].
The extent of snow cover has decreased by 10% since the late 1960s [18].
Average global sea level rose between 0.1 and 0.2 meters during the 20th century [19] [20].
Precipitation increased by 0.5% to 1% per decade in the 20th century over the mid and high latitudes of the
northern hemisphere and by between 0.2% and 0.3% per decade over the tropics (10˚N to 10˚S) [21].
Precipitation decreased over much of the northern sub-tropical (10˚N to 30˚N) land areas during the 20th
century by about 0.3% per decade [22].
The frequency of heavy rain events increased by 2% to 4% in the mid and high latitudes of the northern he-
misphere in the second half of the 20th century. This could be the result of changes in atmospheric moisture,
thunderstorm activity, large-scale storm activity, etc. [23]
Over the 20th century land areas experiencing severe drought and wetness have increased [23].
Some regions of Africa and Asia recorded an increase in the frequency and intensity of drought in the last
decade [24].
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
CO2 concentration has increased by 31% since 1750 [25].
75% of CO2 emissions is produced by fossil fuel burning, the remaining 25% by land use change especially
deforestation [25].
Methane CH4 has increased by 151% since 1750 and continues to increase. Fossil fuel burning, livestock,
rice cultivation and landfills are responsible for emissions [26].
Nitrous Oxide (N2O) has increased by 17% since 1750 and continues to increase. This gas is produced by
agriculture, soils, cattle feed lots and the chemical industry [27].
Stratospheric Ozone (O3) layer has been depleting since 1979 [28].
3.2. Climate Change Scenarios
Current scientific research is focused on the enhanced greenhouse effect as the most likely cause of climate
change in the short-term. Until recently, forecasts of anthropogenic climate change have been unreliable, so that
scenarios of future climatic conditions have been developed to provide quantitative assessments of the hydro-
logic consequences in some regions and/or river basins. Scenarios are “internally-consistent pictures of a plausi-
ble future climate” (Wigley et al., 1986) [29]. These scenarios can be classified into three groups:
hypothetical scenarios;
climate scenarios based on General Circulation Models (GCMs) [30];
scenarios based on reconstruction of warm periods in the past (paleoclimatic reconstruction).
The plethora of literature on this topic has been recently summarized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Cli-
mate Change [31].
The scenarios of the second group have been widely utilized to reconstruct seasonal conditions of the change
in temperature, precipitation and potential evapotraspiration at basin scale over the next century. GCMs are
complex three-dimensional computer-based models of the atmospheric circulation, which provide details of
changes in regional climates for any part of the Earth. Until recently, the standard approach has been to run the
model with a nominal “pre-industrial” atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) concentration (the control run) and
then to rerun the model with doubled (or sometimes quadrupled) CO2 (the perturbed run). This approach is
known as “the equilibrium response prediction”. The more recent and advanced GCMs are, nowadays, able to
take into account the gradual increase in the CO2 concentration through the perturbed run. However, current re-
sults are not sufficiently reliable.
4. Climate Change and Irrigation Requirements
Agriculture is a human activity that is intimately associated with climate. It is well known that the broad patterns
of agricultural growth over long time scales can be explained by a combination of climatic, ecological and eco-
nomic factors. Modern agriculture has progressed by weakening the downside risk of these factors through irri-
gation, the use of pesticides and fertilizers, the substitution of human labor with energy intensive devices, and
the manipulation of genetic resources. A major concern in the understanding of the impacts of climate change is
the extent to which world agriculture will be affected. Thus, in the long term, climate change is an additional
problem that agriculture has to face in meeting global and national food requirements. This recognition has
prompted recent advances in the coupling of global vegetation and climate models.
In the last decade, global vegetation models have been developed that include parameterizations of physio-
logical processes such as photosynthesis, respiration, transpiration and soil water in-take (Bergengren et al.) [32].
These tools have been coupled with General Circulation Models (GCMs) and applied to both paleoclimatic and
future scenarios (Doherty et al. and Levis et al. [33] [34]. The use of physiological parameterizations allows
these models to include the direct effects of changing CO2 levels on primary productivity and competition, along
with the crop water requirements. In the next step the estimated crop water demands could serve as input to
agro-economic models which compute the irrigation water requirements (IR), defined as the amount of water
that must be applied to the crop by irrigation in order to achieve optimal crop growth.
On the global scale, scenarios of future irrigation water use have been developed by Seckler et al. [35] and
Alcamo et al. (2000). Alcamo et al. employed the raster-based Global Irrigation Model (GIM) [37] of Döll and
Siebert (2002) [36], with a spatial resolution of 0.50 by 0.50. This model represents one of the most advanced
tools today available for exploring the impact of climate change on IR at worldwide level.
More recently, the GIM has been applied to explore the impact of climate change on the irrigation water re-
quirements of those areas of the globe equipped for irrigation in 1995 (Döll, 2002) [36]. Estimates of long-term
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
average climate change have been taken from two different GCMs:
the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-ECHAM4), Germany;
the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (HCCPR-CM3), UK.
The following climatic conditions have been computed:
present-day long-term average climatic conditions, i.e. the climate normal 1961-1990 (baseline climate) [38];
future long-term average climatic conditions of the 2020s and 2070s (climatic change) [39].
For the above climatic conditions, the GIM computed both the net and gross irrigation water requirements in
all 0.50 by 0.50 raster cells with irrigated areas. “Gross irrigation requirement” is the total amount of water that
must be applied such that evapotraspiration may occur at the potential rate and optimum crop productivity may
be achieved. Only part of the irrigated water is actually used by the plant and evapotranspirated. This amount, i.e.
the difference between the potential evapotranspiration and the evapotranspiration that would occur without ir-
rigation, represents the “net irrigation requirement” (IRnet. [40]).
The simulations show that irrigation requirements increase in most irrigated areas north of 40˚N, by up to
30%, which is mainly due to decreased precipitation, in particular during the summer. South of this latitude, the
pattern becomes complex. For most of the irrigated areas of the arid northern part of Africa and the Middle East,
IRnet diminishes. In Egypt, a decrease of about 50% in the southern part is accompanied by an increase of about
50% in the central part [41]. In central India, baseline IRnet values of 250 - 350 mm are expected to more than
double by the 2020s [42]. In large parts of China the impact of climate change is negligible (less than 5%), with
decreases in northern China, as precipitation is assumed to increase [43]. When the cell-specific net irrigation
requirements are summed up over the world regions, increases and decreases of the cell values caused by cli-
mate change almost average out, increasing by 3.3% in the 2020s and by 5.5% in the 2070s [5] [40] (Table 1).
Climate Change and Water Availability.
Table 1. The simulations also show that in areas equipped for irrigation in 1995 IRnet is likely to increase in 66% of these
areas by the 2020s and in 62% by the 2070s.
Irrigated Cropping Long-Term Average IRnet, km3/yr
Area 1995,
1000 km2 Intensity Baseline 2020s
ECHAM4 HadCM3 2070s ECHAM4 HadCM3
1.0 2.4 2.9 2.7
USA 235.6 1.0 112.0 120.6 117.9
Central America 80.2
17.5 17.0
South America 98.3 LO 26.6 27.1 27.S 28.2 29.1
Northern Africa
LS 66.4 62.7
56.0 57.7
Western Africa 8.3 1.0 2.5 2.2
2.4 2.6
Eastern Africa 35.8 l.O 12.3
14.5 14.3
Southern Africa 18.6 1.0 7.1 7.0
OECD Europe 118.0 1.0 52.4 55.8
56.5 57.8
Eastern Europe 49.4 LO 16.7 18.4 19.0 19.7
Former U.S.S.R. 218.7
104.6 106.6 112.1 104.4 108.7
Middle East 185.3 l.O 144.7 138.7 142.4 126.5 137.8
South Asia 734.6
366.4 389.8 400.4 410.7 422.0
East Asia
123.8 126.0 126.6
Southeast Asia 154.4
18.8 30.4 28.6
Oceania 26.1
17.7 17.8 17.6 18.2 19.7
Japan 27.0
1.4 1.5
World 2549.1 1091.5 1127.5 1147.0 1151.0 1176.8
Irrigated areas of 1995, under 1961-1990 average observed climate (“baseline”), and scaled with MPI-ECHAM4 or HCCPR-CM3 climate change
scenarios for 2020-2029 (“2020s”) and 2070-2090 (“2070s”).
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
In order to assess the problem of water scarcity, the appropriate averaging units are not world regions but riv-
er basins.
Climate predictions from four state-of-the-art General Circulation Models were used to assess the hydrologic
sensitivity to climate change of nine large, continental river basins (Nijssen et al., 2001). The river basins were
selected on the basis of the desire to represent a range of geographic and climatic conditions. Four models have
been used:
the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (HCCPR-CM2), UK;
the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research (HCCPR-CM3), UK;
the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology (MPI-ECHAM4), Germany;
the Department of Energy (DOE-PCM3), USA.
All predicted transient climate response to changing greenhouse gas concentrations and incorporated modern
land surface parameterizations. The transient emission scenarios differ slightly from one model to another, part-
ly because they represent greenhouse gas chemistry differently.
Changes in basin-wide, mean annual temperature and precipitation were computed for three decades in the
transient climate model runs (2025, 2045 and 2095) and hydrologic model simulations were performed for dec-
ades centered on 2025 and 2045 [43].
The main conclusions are summarized below.
All models predict a warming for all nine basins, but the amount of warming varies widely between the
models, especially for the longer time horizon. The greatest warming is predicted to occur during the winter
months in the highest latitudes [44]. Precipitation generally increases for the northern basins, but the signal is
mixed for basins in the mid-latitudes and tropics, although on average slight precipitation increases are pre-
dicted [45].
The largest changes in hydrological cycle are predicted for the snow-dominated basins of mid to higher lati-
tudes, as a result of the greater amount of warming that is predicted for these regions. The presence or ab-
sence of snow fundamentally changes the water balance, due to the fact that water stored as snow during the
winter does not become available for runoff or evapotranspiration until the following spring’s melt period
Globally, the hydrological response predicted for most of the basins in response to the GCMs predictions is a
reduction in annual stream flow in the tropical and mid-latitudes. In contrast, high-latitude basins tend to
show an increase in annual runoff, because most of the predicted increase in precipitation occurs during the
winter, when the available energy is insufficient for an increase in evaporation. Instead, water is stored as
snow and contributes to stream flow during the subsequent melt period [45].
5. Planning and Design of Irrigation Systems under Climate Change
Uncertainties as to how the climate will change and how irrigation systems will have to adapt to these changes,
are challenges that planners and designers will have to cope with. In view of these uncertainties, planners and
designers need guidance as to when the prospect of climate change should be embodied and factored into the
planning and design process (De Wrachien and Feddes, 2004) [46]. An initial question is whether, based on
GCM results or other analyses, there is reason to expect that a region’s climate is likely to change significantly
during the life of a system. If significant climate change is thought to be likely, the next question is whether
there is a basis for forming an expectation about the likelihood and nature of the change and its impacts on the
infrastructures [47].
The suitability and robustness of an infrastructure can be assessed either by running “what if scenarios” that
incorporate alternative climates or through synthetic hydrology by translating apparent trends into enhanced
persistence [46].
When there are grounds for formulating reasonable expectations about the likelihood of climate changes, the
relevance of these changes will depend on the nature of the project under consideration. Climate changes that
are likely to occur several decades from now will have little relevance for decisions involving infrastructure de-
velopment or incremental expansion of existing facilities’ capacity. Under these circumstances planners and de-
signers should evaluate the options under one or more climate change scenario to determine the impacts on the
project’s net benefits. If the climate significantly alters the net benefits, the costs of proceeding with a decision
assuming no change can be estimated. If these costs are significant, a decision tree can be constructed for eva-
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
luating the alternatives under two or more climate scenarios (Hobbs et al., 1997) [48].
Delaying an expensive and irreversible project may be a competitive option, especially in view of the prospect
that the delay will result in a better understanding as to how the climate is likely to change and impact the effec-
tiveness and performance of the infrastructure [46].
Aside from the climate change issue, the high costs of and limited opportunities for developing new large
scale projects, have led to a shift away from the traditional, fairly inflexible planning principles and design crite-
ria for meeting changing water needs and coping with hydrological variability and uncertainty. Efficient, flexi-
ble works designed for current climatic trends would be expected to perform efficiently under different envi-
ronmental conditions. Thus, institutional flexibility that might complement or substitute infrastructure invest-
ments is likely to play an important role in irrigation development under the prospect of global climatic change.
Frederick et al. (1997) proposed a five-step planning and design process for water resource systems, for coping
with uncertain climate and hydrologic events, and potentially suitable for the development of large irrigation
schemes [49].
If climate change is recognized as a major planning issue (first step), the second step in the process would
consist of predicting the impacts of climate change on the region’s irrigated area. The third step involves the
formulation of alternative plans, consisting of a system of structural and/or non-structural measures and hedging
strategies that address, among other concerns, the projected consequences of climate change. Non-structural
measures that might be considered include modification of management practices, regulatory and pricing poli-
cies. Evaluation of the alternatives, in the fourth step, would be based on the most likely conditions expected to
exist in the future with and without the plan [50]. The final step in the process involves comparing the alterna-
tives and selecting a recommended development plan. Here in the authors have cited some sample plans by
various governemnts [47]-[99]. We have listed a reference [79], to find the proper names for various countries. If
the reader likes to find a climate action plan for his country of interest, just go to and type in or
search for climate action for country of your interest. We have cited climate action plans proposed by few coun-
tries like USA, India, China, and Europen contintent.
The planning and design process needs to be sufficiently flexible to incorporate consideration of and res-
ponses to many possible climate impacts. Introducing the potential impacts of and appropriate responses to cli-
mate change in planning and design of irrigation systems can be both expensive and time consuming. The main
factors that might influence the worth of incorporating climate change into the analysis are the level of planning
(local, national, international), the reliability of GCMs, the hydrologic conditions, the time horizon of the plan or
life of the project [94] [95].
6. Concluding Remarks
Agriculture will have to meet the future challenges posed by food security by increasing production while
conserving natural resources.
With a population that is expected to grow from 6 billion today to at least 8 billion by the year 2025 [100]
[101], bold measures are essential if the problems of irrigation systems and shortage of food are to be
Different scenarios have been developed to explore a number of issues, such as the expansion of irrigated
agriculture, massive increases in food production from rainfed lands and water productivity trends. Opinions
differ among experts as to some of the above issues. However, there is broad consensus that irrigation can
contribute substantially to increasing food production in the years to come.
Most of the world’s irrigation systems were developed on a step-by-step basis over the centuries and were
designed for a long life (50 years or more), on the assumption that climatic conditions would not change.
This will not be so in the future, due to global warming and the greenhouse effect. Therefore, engineers and
decision-makers need to systematically review planning principles, design criteria, operating rules, contin-
gency plans and water management policies.
Uncertainties as to how the climate will change and how irrigation systems will have to adapt to these
changes are issues that water authorities are compelled to address. The challenge is to identify short-term
strategies to cope with long-term uncertainties. The question is not what the best course for a project is over
the next fifty years or more, but rather, what is the best direction for the next few years, knowing that a pru-
dent hedging strategy will allow time to learn and change course.
D. De Wrachien, M. B. Goli
The planning and design process needs to be sufficiently flexible to incorporate consideration of and res-
ponses to many possible climate impacts. The main factors that will influence the worth of incorporating
climate change into the process are the level of planning, the reliability of the forecasting models, the hydro-
logical conditions and the time horizon of the plan or the life of the project.
The development of a comprehensive approach that integrates all these factors into irrigation project selection
requires further research on the processes governing climate changes, the impacts of increased atmospheric car-
bon dioxide on vegetation and runoff, the effect of climate variables on crop water requirements and the impacts
of climate on infrastructure performance.
Heartfelt acknowlegements to all the authors, cited in this global warming review article. Because of the
enormous challenge that our human race is going through in this 21st century, we the authors of this article, took
liberty to share the knowledge and findings and plans that many of you have posted on the web sites. I hope we
all scientists of diffrent countries share our know how in advance before we face the worst scenerios of human,
plants and nature suffering due to our own negligence or unawareness.
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Supplementary resource (1)

... Horticultura Brasileira 38 (1) January -March, 2020 T oday's climate change and scarcity of good quality water are becoming increasingly severe worldwide (De Wrachien & Goli, 2015). Both of them are issues that demand changes in agriculture. ...
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The amount of water and fertilizers used in the production of vegetables, specifically tomatoes, is high. This study was carried out to determine water and fertilizers use efficiency in closed and open hydroponic systems for tomato production under greenhouse conditions. Two treatments with eight replications were assessed; each replication consisted of 67 pots with two plants each. One treatment was a closed hydroponic system (with nutrient solution recirculation), and the other was an open hydroponic system (with non-recirculating nutrient solution). We quantified the amounts of water and fertilizers applied, as well as the losses (drained nutrient solution), in the two treatments during the entire cycle of tomato. In the nutrient solution (NS) we also measured electric conductivity (EC), pH, volume applied, and volume drained, and total weight of fruits (25 pickings). There were no significant differences between the two treatments on fruit production. Water use efficiency was 59.53 kg/fruit/m3 for the closed system and 46.03 kg/fruit/m3 in the open system. In comparison to the open system, the closed system produced 13.50 kg more fruit per cubic meter of water, while 10.31 grams less fertilizers per kilogram of fruit produced were only applied. Water and fertilizers use efficiency were higher in the closed system, by 22.68% and 22.69%, respectively. More efficiency was obtained in the closed system, regarding the open system. We concluded that the closed system is a good alternative to produce tomato and preserve the resources involved in the process (like water and fertilizers), thus reducing pollution.
... Local scenarios of future climatic conditions have been proposed to provide quantitative assessments about hydrologic results. These scenarios can be classified into three groups: hypothetical scenarios, climate scenarios based on general and regional circulation models (GCMs and RCMs), and scenarios based on reconstruction of past eras (paleo-climatic reconstruction) [10]. The scenarios of the second group have been widely utilized to reconstruct seasonal conditions of the change in temperature, precipitation and potential evapotraspiration at basin scale over the next century. ...
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In order to increase food production it is necessary to better understand all the factors underlying short term operations and long term strategies that lead to improve food security. In this regard any good effect deriving from agricultural research is strictly connected to a more accurate estimation of crops resources requirements, to major improvements in the use of irrigation and drainage systems, to a better understand of climatic variability. All the variables involved show strong dependency on both place and time. The failing of past, present and future systems can be essentially attributed to poor agricultural research planning, to incorrect agricultural systems design and resource allocation and to a not complete capacity to cope with short and long-term global climatic behavior.
... These uncertainties call for continued attention and suitable action on many fronts, if productivity and flexibility in agricultural systems are to be improved [2]. All the above factors and constraints compel decision-makers to review the strengths and weaknesses of current trends in irrigation and drainage and rethink technology, institutional and financial patterns, research thrust and manpower policy, so that service levels and system efficiency can be improved in a sustainable manner [3]. ...
... These uncertainties call for continued attention and suitable action on many fronts, if productivity and flexibility in agricultural systems are to be improved [2]. All the above factors and constraints compel decision-makers to review the strengths and weaknesses of current trends in irrigation and drainage and rethink technology, institutional and financial patterns, research thrust and manpower policy, so that service levels and system efficiency can be improved in a sustainable manner [3]. ...
... All the above factors and constraints compel decision-makers to review the strengths and weaknesses of current trends in irrigation and drainage and rethink technology, institutional and financial patterns, research thrust and manpower policy, so that service levels and system efficiency can be improved in a sustainable manner [3]. ...
... Agriculture must meet future food security challenges by increasing production while conserving important natural resources [29]. Freshwater is an increasingly limited resource that is often mismanaged. ...
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Improved irrigation use efficiency is an important tool for intensifying and diversifying agriculture in Nepal, resulting in higher economic yield from irrigated farmlands with a minimum input of water. Research was conducted to evaluate the effect of irrigation method (furrow vs. drip) on the productivity of nutritious fodder species during off-monsoon dry periods in different elevation zones of central Nepal. A split-block factorial design was used. The factors considered were treatment location, fodder crop, and irrigation method. Commonly used local agronomical practices were followed in all respects except irrigation method. Results revealed that location effect was significant (p < 0.01) with highest fodder productivity seen for the middle elevation site, Syangja. Species effects were also significant, with teosinte (Euchlaena mexicana) having higher yield than cowpea (Vigna unguiculata). Irrigation method impacted green biomass yield (higher with furrow irrigation) but both methods yielded similar dry biomass, while water use was 73% less under drip irrigation. Our findings indicated that the controlled application of water through drip irrigation is able to produce acceptable yields of nutritionally dense fodder species during dry seasons, leading to more effective utilization and resource conservation of available land, fertilizer and water. Higher productivity of these nutritional fodders resulted in higher milk productivity for livestock smallholders. The ability to grow fodder crops year-round in lowland and hill regions of Nepal with limited water storage using low-cost, water-efficient drip irrigation may greatly increase livestock productivity and, hence, the economic security of smallholder farmers.
The world population is expected to grow from 7.8 billion at present to 9.7 billion by 2050 and 10.9 billion by the end of the century. The growth is especially expected in urban areas of the countries with a low, medium, and high human development index (HDI) in Africa and Asia. Especially because of the on‐going increase in farm sizes in the rural areas of the countries with a medium, high, and very high HDI, a reduction in population in these areas may be expected. In the countries with a low HDI, this reduction is expected to start at a later stage. Globally, prospects of increasing the gross cultivated area are limited by the decrease of suitable sites for land reclamation or large‐scale irrigation and drainage projects. Therefore, increase in food production will largely rely on a more accurate application of the crop water requirements and modernization or improved operation and maintenance of irrigation and drainage systems. These issues have to be analysed in light of the expected impacts of climate change and environmental sustainability. This paper presents the relevant impacts of these issues on the need to increase food production and for sustainable irrigation and drainage system development and management. In light of this, the goals and objectives of the International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID) Strategic Action Plan are presented.
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This is the Key note speech at the International Conference Organised by the International Network for Water and Eco Systems in Paddy Fields, was under the main conference theme, "Climate Change Impacts and Sustainability of Paddy Farming in Asia", This was held on 3rd November 2015 at Negombo, Sri Lanka. In this paper titled Irrigated Paddy Cultivation Systems in Sri Lanka and Climate Change: Indifference or as a Crucial Element, the main points discussed are, Irrigated Paddy Farming Systems, Climate Change and Impacts, Aspect of Water resources and flooding, to be happy with business as usual or rise to the occasion with a sound technical approach. The paper makes a critical review of the present day Sri Lankan practices and makes an appeal to the irrigation professionals
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A description of the environment, animal production systems and forage resources of México up to 2005.
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The urgency of charting pathways to sustainability that keep human societies within a "safe operating space" has now been clarified. Crises in climate, food, biodiversity, and energy are already playing out across local and global scales and are set to increase as we approach critical thresholds. Drawing together recent work from the Stockholm Resilience Centre, the Tellus Institute, and the STEPS Centre, this commentary article argues that ambitious Sustainable Development Goals are now required along with major transformation, not only in policies and technologies, but in modes of innovation themselves, to meet them. As examples of dryland agriculture in East Africa and rural energy in Latin America illustrate, such "transformative innovation" needs to give far greater recognition and power to grassroots innovation actors and processes, involving them within an inclusive, multi-scale innovation politics. The three dimensions of direction, diversity, and distribution along with new forms of "sustainability brokering" can help guide the kinds of analysis and decision making now needed to safeguard our planet for current and future generations.
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Executive summary The European Commission has recently adopted the Thematic Strategy for soil protection (COM(2006)231 final), with the objective to ensure that Europe’s soils remain healthy and capable of supporting human activities and ecosystems. Climate change is identified as a common element in many soil threats. Therefore the Commission intends to assess the actual contribution of the protection of soil to climate change mitigation and the effects of climate change on soil productivity and the possible depletion of soil organic matter as result of climate change. The objective of this study is to provide a state of the art and more robust understanding of interactions between soil under different land uses and climate change than is available now, through a comprehensive literature review and expert judgment. 1 Carbon stock in EU soils The amount of carbon in European soils is estimated to be equal to 73 to 79 billion tonnes. These estimates are based on applying a common methodology across Europe, the larger estimate was based on a method developed by the Joint Research Centre of the European Commission and the smaller estimate on a soil organic carbon (SOC) map of the United States Department of Agriculture. These two methodologies gave similar estimates for most of the European countries. The estimates were of the same order of magnitude as national estimates based on national methodologies and are therefore deemed reliable. Carbon in EU27 soils is concentrated in specific regions: roughly 50% of the total carbon stock is located in Sweden, Finland and the United Kingdom (because of the vast area of peatlands in these countries) and approximately 20% of the carbon stock is in peatlands mainly in the northern parts of Europe. The rest of soil C is in mineral soils, again the higher amount being in northern Europe. 2 Soils sink or source for CO2 in the EU Uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) through photosynthesis and plant growth and loss (decomposition) of organic matter from terrestrial ecosystems are both significant fluxes in Europe. Yet, the net terrestrial carbon fluxes (uptake of CO2 minus respiration by vegetation and soils) are typically smaller relative to the emissions from use of fossil fuel. The current changes in the carbon pool of the European soils were estimated from different studies using different methods, by land use category using models that simulate carbon cycling in soil. The results of the different studies deviated considerably from each other, and all results were accompanied with wide uncertainty ranges. Some studies on the basis of measurements in UK, Belgium and France on soil carbon over longer periods show losses of carbon especially from cropland; other studies from the UK and from the Netherlands show no change or increases in soil carbon stocks over time. Grassland soils were found in all studies to generally accumulate carbon. However, the studies differ on the amount of carbon accumulated. In one study, the sink estimate ranged from 1 to 45 million tonnes of carbon per year and, in another study, the mean estimate was 101 million tonnes per year, although with a high uncertainty. Cropland generally acts as a carbon source, although existing estimates vary highly. In one study, the carbon balance estimates of croplands ranged from a carbon sink equal to 10 million tonnes of carbon per year to a carbon source equal to 39 million tonnes per year. In another study, croplands in Europe were estimated to be losing carbon up to 300 million tonnes per year. The latter is now perceived as a gross overestimation. Forest soils generally accumulate carbon in each European country. Estimates range from 17 to 39 million tonnes of carbon per year with an average of 26 million tonnes per year in 1990 and to an average of 38 million tons of carbon per year in 2005. It would seem that on a net basis, soils in Europe are on average most likely accumulating carbon. However, given the very high uncertainties in the estimates for cropland and grassland, it would not seem accurate and sound to try to use them to aggregate the data and produce an estimate of the carbon accumulation and total carbon balance in European soils. 3 Peat and organic soils The current area of peat occurrence in the EU Member States and Candidate Countries is over 318 000 km2. More than 50% of this surface is in just a few northern European countries (Norway, Finland, Sweden, United Kingdom); the remainder in Ireland, Poland and Baltic states. Of that area, approximately 50% has already been drained, while most of the undrained areas are in Finland and Sweden. Although there are gaps in information on land use in peatlands, it can be estimated that water saturated organic rich soil (peatland) have been drained for: - agriculture – more than 65 000 km2 (20% of the total European peatland area); - forestry – almost 90 000 km2 (28%); - peat extraction – only 2 273 km2 (0.7%). This is important as the largest emissions of CO2 from soils are resulting from land use change and related drainage of organic soils and amount to 20-40 tonnes of CO2 per hectare per year. The emission from cultivated and drained organic soils in EU27 is approximately 100 Mt CO2 per year. Peat layer have been lost by oxidation during land use, but the estimate derivable from the published data, ca. 18 000 km2, is very probably an underestimate. 4 Land use and soil carbon Monitoring programs, long term experiments and modelling studies all show that land use significantly affects soil carbon stocks. Soil carbon losses occur when grasslands, managed forest lands or native ecosystems are converted to croplands. Vice versa soil carbon stocks are restored when croplands are either converted to grasslands, forest lands or natural ecosystems. Conversion of forest lands into grasslands does not affect soil carbon in all cases, but does reduce total ecosystem carbon due to the removal of aboveground biomass. The more carbon is present on the soil, the higher the potential for losing it. Therefore the potential losses of unfavourable land use changes on highly organic peat soils are a major risk. The most effective strategy to prevent global soil carbon loss would be to halt land conversion to cropland, but this may conflict with growing global food demand unless per-area productivity of the cropland continues to grow. 5 Soil management and soil carbon Soil management practices are an important tool to affect the soil carbon stocks. Suitable soil management strategies have been identified within all different land use categories and are available and feasible to implement. These are: - On cropland, soil carbon stocks can be increased by (i) agronomic measures that increase the return of biomass carbon to the soil, (ii) tillage and residue management, (iii) water management, (iv) agro-forestry. - On grassland, soil carbon stocks are affected by (i) grazing intensity (ii) grassland productivity, (iii) fire management and (iv) species management. - On forest lands, soil carbon stocks can be increased by (i) species selection, (ii) stand management, (iii) minimal site preparation, (iv) tending and weed control, (v) increased productivity, (vi) protection against disturbances and (vii) prevention of harvest residue removal. - On cultivated peat soils the loss of soil carbon can be reduced by (i) higher ground water tables. - On less intensively / un-managed heathlands and peatlands, soil carbon stocks are affected by (i) water table (drainage), (ii) pH (liming), fertilisation, (iii) burning (iv) grazing. - On degraded lands, carbon stocks can be increased after restoration to a productive situation. Given that land use change is often driven by demand and short term economic revenues, the most realistic option to improve soil carbon stocks is to a) protect the carbon stocks in highly organic soils such as peats mostly in northern Europe, and b) to improve the way in which the land is managed to maximise carbon returns to the soil and minimise carbon losses. Increased nitrogen fertilizer use has made a large contribution to the growth in productivity, but further increased use will lead to greater emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O). Hence future emphasis should be concentrated on the other main driver of productivity, i.e. improved crop varieties. 6 Carbon sequestration Soils contain about three times the amount of carbon globally as vegetation, and about twice that in the atmosphere. There is a significant and large uncertainty associated with the response of soil carbon (and other pools of biospheric carbon) to future climate changes. Most response are calculated with simulation models with some models predicting large releases of additional carbon from soils and vegetation under climate change, and others suggesting only small feedback. The maximum possible amount of carbon that soil sequestration could achieve is about one third of the current yearly increase in atmospheric carbon (as carbon dioxide) stocks. This is about one seventh of yearly anthropogenic carbon emissions of 7500 Mt C. In Europe emissions of greenhouse gases amount to approximately 4100 Mt CO2 (or 1000 Mt C) per year. Today, soils in Europe are most likely a sink and the best estimate is that they sequester up to 100 Mton C per year. Higher sequestration is possible with adequate soil management. Soil C-sequestration alone is surely no ‘golden bullet’ to fight climate change but is it realistic to link climate change with soil carbon conservation, as soil carbon sequestration is cost competitive, of immediate availability, does not require the development of new and unproven technologies, and provides comparable mitigation potential to that available in other sectors. Therefore, given that climate change needs to be tackled urgently if atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations are to be stabilized below levels thought to be irreversible, soil carbon sequestration or the even more effective conservation of current carbon stocks in soils has a key role to play in any raft of measures used to tackle climate change. 7 Effects of climate change on soil carbon pools We have not found strong and clear evidence for either an overall combined positive or negative impact of climate change (raised atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature, precipitation) on terrestrial carbon stocks. There are suggestions for enhancing soil C stocks at higher atmospheric CO2 concentration and reducing soil C stocks when temperatures are rising. Most studies have taken moderate changes in temperature increases and sudden and more severe changes in temperature of precipitation have not been considered, as the management of land and soils overrules any impact on soil carbon from climate change. All of the factors of climate change (raised atmospheric CO2 concentration, temperature, precipitation) affect soil C, with the effect on soils of CO2 being indirect (through photosynthesis) and the effects of weather factors being both direct and indirect. Climate change affects soil carbon pools by affecting each of the processes in the C-cycle: photosynthetic C-assimilation, litter fall, decomposition, surface erosion, hydrological transport. Due to the relatively large gross exchange of CO2 between atmosphere and soils and the significant stocks of carbon in soils, relatively small changes in these large but opposing fluxes of CO2 may have significant impact on our climate and on soil quality. Therefore, managing these fluxes (through proper soil management) can help mitigate climate change considerably. 8 Monitoring systems for changes in soil carbon Today, monitoring and knowledge on land use and land use change in EU27 is insufficient, yet land use and land use change are a key source of greenhouse gas emissions in many of the EU27 member states. Soil monitoring in EU27 seems like the Tower of Babel: countries tend to have their own systems, if any, sometimes even more than one system, and the results are not fully compatible across EU27. The few existing systems tend to have been set up for different purposes, often not including that of providing evidence concerning the impact of climate change on soil carbon pools. This 19 lack of systematic and comparable data gathering and analyses seriously hampers any attempt to provide reliable, EU-wide data on the soil carbon stock and changes therein. Moreover, the new goal of monitoring stock-changes rather than stock-magnitudes may necessitate significant changes to current soil sampling procedures. Given the lack of reliable national monitoring systems and without an EU wide harmonized system of monitoring of soil carbon in place, it would be a significant advance if the EU were to ask for a design or initiate implementation of a harmonized EU27 monitoring for land uses and for specific activities that affect soil carbon stocks and emissions of CO2. Such monitoring would also allow for adequate representation of changes in soil carbon in EU27 in reporting to the United Nations Framework Convention to Combat Climate Change (UNFCCC). 9 EU policies and soil carbon We have critically reviewed EU policies that are likely to have impacts on soil carbon (C) to assess whether any of those policies might have adverse impacts on soil C in the long term. Policies reviewed were the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), the Nitrates Directive, the Renewable Energy Sources Directive, the Biofuels Directive, Waste policy and the EU Thematic Strategy for soil protection. Legislation to encourage the production of arable crops to provide feed stocks for renewable energy is perhaps the legislation most likely to lead to decreases in the overall carbon content of European soils. While studies may indicate much of the demand may be met by imports from outside the EU, and hence may have little impacts on soil C within the EU, there may be serious implications for soil C stocks in those countries which supply renewable energy or their substrates. We conclude that the need to comply with environmental requirements under the Cross Compliance requirement of CAP is an instrument that may be used to maintain SOC. The measures required under UNFCCC are not likely to adversely impact soil C. Nor are there any measures in the proposed Soil Framework Directive that would be expected to lead to decreases on soil C.
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For the past few years, the international community has regarded the right to carbon emission as a new right to development. The legal basis of this mainly includes “the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change”, “the Kyoto Protocol” as well as the sustainable development principle, the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities and the principle of fairness and justice, etc. The distribution of the right to carbon emission of the post-Kyoto age should consider the need of development, population, historical responsibility, the principle of fairness and justice and other factors. As a dominant country of greenhouse gas emission, on the premise of sticking to “the principle of common but differentiated responsibilities”, China should achieve the transformation from the “difference principle” to “common responsibilities” progressively. Meanwhile, in strengthening coordination with developing countries, China should appropriately support the requests of the Alliance of Small Island States and the least developed countries and attach importance to the issue of the right to development in the distribution of the right to carbon emission.
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Growing scientific evidence shows that world energy resources are entering a period shaped by the depletion of high-quality fuels, whilst the decline of the easy-to-extract oil is a widely recognized ongoing phenomenon. The end of the era of cheap and abundant energy flows brings the issue of economic growth into question, stimulating research for alternatives as the de-growth proposal. The present paper applies the system dynamic global model WoLiM that allows economic, energy and climate dynamics to be analyzed in an integrated way. The results show that, if the growth paradigm is maintained, the decrease in fossil fuel extraction can only be partially compensated by renewable energies, alternative policies and efficiency improvements, very likely causing systemic energy shortage in the next decades. If a massive transition to coal would be promoted to try to compensate the decline of oil and gas and maintain economic growth, the climate would be then very deeply disturbed. The results suggest that growth and globalization scenarios are, not only undesirable from the environmental point of view, but also not feasible. Furthermore, regionalization scenarios without abandoning the current growth GDP focus would set the grounds for a pessimistic panorama from the point of view of peace, democracy and equity. In this sense, an organized material de-growth in the North followed by a steady state shows up as a valid framework to achieve global future human welfare and sustainability. The exercise qualitatively illustrates the magnitude of the challenge: the most industrialized countries should reduce, on average, their per capita primary energy use rate at least four times and decrease their per capita GDP to roughly present global average levels. Differently from the current dominant perceptions, these consumption reductions might actually be welfare enhancing. However, the attainment of these targets would require deep structural changes in the socioeconomic systems in combination with a radical shift in geopolitical relationships.
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Future food production is highly vulnerable to both climate change and air pollution with implications for global food security(1-4). Climate change adaptation and ozone regulation have been identified as important strategies to safeguard food production(5,6), but little is known about how climate and ozone pollution interact to affect agriculture, nor the relative effectiveness of these two strategies for different crops and regions. Here we present an integrated analysis of the individual and combined effects of 2000-2050 climate change and ozone trends on the production of four major crops (wheat, rice, maize and soybean) worldwide based on historical observations and model projections, specifically accounting for ozone-temperature co-variation. The projections exclude the effect of rising CO2, which has complex and potentially offsetting impacts on global food supply(7-10). We show that warming reduces global crop production by >10% by 2050 with a potential to substantially worsen global malnutrition in all scenarios considered. Ozone trends either exacerbate or offset a substantial fraction of climate impacts depending on the scenario, suggesting the importance of air quality management in agricultural planning. Furthermore, we find that depending on region some crops are primarily sensitive to either ozone (for example, wheat) or heat (for example, maize) alone, providing a measure of relative benefits of climate adaptation versus ozone regulation for food security in different regions.