Earlier studies have noted potential adverse impacts of land-related emissions mitigation strategies on food security, particularly due to food price increases—but without distinguishing these strategies’ individual effects under different conditions. Using six global agroeconomic models, we show the extent to which three factors—non-CO2 emissions reduction, bioenergy production and afforestation—may change food security and agricultural market conditions under 2 °C climate-stabilization scenarios.
Results show that afforestation (often simulated in the models by imposing carbon prices on land carbon stocks) could have a large impact on food security relative to non-CO2 emissions policies (generally implemented as emissions taxes). Respectively, these measures put an additional 41.9 million and 26.7 million people at risk of hunger in 2050 compared with the current trend scenario baseline.
This highlights the need for better coordination in emissions reduction and agricultural market management policies as well as better representation of land use and associated greenhouse gas emissions in modelling.