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PFSO: Climate Change and the Food System

Developing economies of the Asia-Pacific will be most affected by the impacts of climate change, according to the 2008-2009 Pacific Food System Outlook (PFSO) report,  Climate Change and the Food System.

"According to our scenarios, the impact of climate change will vary according to the latitudes of the economy, with gains most expected in the northern parts of the region and losses in tropical/equatorial areas," said Walter J. Armbruster, president emeritus of Farm Foundation and chair of the PFSO project.  Over the next century, agricultural productivity is projected to increased by 9% in the United States and Canada, but decline 20% in PECC's Latin American countries, and decline 9% in Southeast Asia.

"This is of great concern because of the concentration of food-insecure people in the region who will be negatively affected by climate change," added William T. Coyle, senior economist at the USDA Economic Research Service and senior coordinator of the PFSO project. About 11%, or 210 million people, in the PECC region are food insecure.

The report outlines significant roles for policy makers in climate change adaptation and mitigation, including:

  • Collect and disseminate data targeted for local needs and circumstances to help food system participants adapt to gradual changes, as well as to extreme weather and climatic events.
  • Support public funding of research and development that recognizes unique geographic differences in climate factors, integrate findings into extension programs and economic development planning.
  • Initiate programs to reduce greenhouse gases.
  • Expand production of biofuels in ways that are cost-effective and maximize greenhouse gas offsets relative to fossil fuels by minimizing emissons related to land use change, feedstock production, conversion processes and distribution to final consumers.
  • Promote the greatest possible openness in the region's food system to reduce the risk of food supply disruptions.  

PFSO is a project of the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC)  in collaboration with Farm Foundation and the USDA Economic Research Service.  The report was prepared by government and university economists from the 23 member-economies of PECC.







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