Fujimori et al estimate that if we aim for the 2°C Paris commitment as many as 84 million more people will be going hungry by 2050. Their solution, naturally, is to still aim for futile, global weather management targets, but to add another layer of socialist complexity and welfare. It’s only money.
If we feed corn to cars instead of people, and we limit land-use to carbon storage rather than food crops, how could the outcome be any other way? A million dead here, a million dead there, and pretty soon someone will be using their deaths to ask for for a grant, a tax, and a supranational committee.
For thirty years people have been saying we need to reduce our emissions as a precaution even though we can’t predict the climate. But when we can predict that people will starve, the principle seems to be do it anyway and “give them your money”. I can find zero mentions of the precautionary principle in their paper.
This paper is, yet again, another variation on a plea for more governance, more tax, more fiddling with global systems.
Inclusive climate change mitigation and food security policy under 1.5 °C climate goal
Climate change mitigation to limit warming to 1.5 °C or well below 2 °C, as suggested by the Paris Agreement, can rely on large-scale deployment of land-related measures (e.g. afforestation, or bioenergy production). This can increase food prices, and hence raises food security concerns. Here we show how an inclusive policy design can avoid these adverse side-effects. Food-security support through international aid, bioenergy tax, or domestic reallocation of income can shield impoverished and vulnerable people from the additional risk of hunger that would be caused by the economic effects of policies narrowly focussing on climate objectives only. In the absence of such support, 35% more people might be at risk of hunger by 2050 (i.e. 84 million additional people) in a 2°C-consistent scenario. The additional global welfare changes due to inclusive climate policies are small (<0.1%) compared to the total climate mitigation cost (3.7% welfare loss), and the financial costs of international aid amount to about half a percent of high-income countries’ GDP. This implies that climate policy should treat this issue carefully. Although there are challenges to implement food policies, options exist to avoid the food security concerns often linked to climate mitigation.
Fun games you can play with carbon taxes: Use the graph to figure out how many million people your policy might kill.
With enough grant money it’s possible to generate fancy pants graphs exploring entirely pointless policies in full color.
Clearly the safest outcome is “NCP” or No Climate Policy. That’s the baseline. Higher emissions and more food security.
SSP means a “shared socioeconomic pathway”. NDC means Nationally Determined Contributions and all this jargon means Life Is Too Short to pursue this nonsense much further.
Three SSPs (SSP1, SSP2 and SSP3) are chosen for this study and they are referred to as ‘sustainable development’, ‘middle of the road’ and ‘regional rivalry’, respectively. From a climate change mitigation point of view, the challenge to mitigation is increase going from SSP1, over SSP2, to SSP3. We consider four mitigation levels: no climate policy (baseline), GHG emissions reductions by 2030 in line with the NDCs, and scenarios that limit global mean temperature in 2100 to below 2 ◦C and 1.5 ◦C in which cost-effective emissions reduction are assumed from in 2020 onwards.
Note that the current Paris agreement here (known as NDC) is near the baseline because almost no country has promised to do something meaningful. The other two options — actually aiming for the magical 2 ◦C and 1.5 ◦C — are wildly higher and harder and might as well be projections for Neverland.
What happened to “first do no harm”?
Shinichiro Fujimori et al (2018) Inclusive climate change mitigation and food security policy under 1.5 °C climate goal, Environmental Research Letters, Volume 13, Number 7, http://iopscience.iop.org/article/10.1088/1748-9326/aad0f7/meta. Full PDF