Climate change and variability: What are the risks for nutrition, diets, and food systems?
This discussion paper (PDF) by IFPRI uses a food systems approach to analyze the bidirectional relationships between climate change and food and nutrition. The relationship between climate and nutrition is complex. Climate is a potential driver of nutritional status, but climate is also affected by dietary choices, which also impact nutrition. Nutrition is determined by diet and diet is a driving factor of greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, climate change influences nutritional status through the enabling, food, work and social, health, and living environments. In a vicious cycle, communities and countries without adequate means of mitigation and adaptation are forced to make short-term decisions on food consumption, livelihoods, land use, water, energy use, and transportation that impair effective climate mitigation and potentially worsen planetary well-being. The report also identifies specific adaptation and mitigation interventions for each step of the food value chain to move toward a more climate-smart, nutrition-sensitive food system. General conclusions are: without action, climate change will impact nutrition through decreased food quantity and access, decreased dietary diversity, and decreased food nutritional content; climate-smart and nutrition-sensitive food system are needed in order to ensure that mitigation and adaptation strategies take nutrition into account; and climate change has indirect impacts on human health through water and food availability. The report concludes with eight recommendations and concrete actions to offer guidance to adapt and mitigate to the effect of climate change to nutrition.