Impact through policies and partnerships

S.Kilungu (CCAFS)
Outcomes & Impacts

Reaching the world’s policy makers through IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report

Climate-Smart Technologies and Practices

CCAFS research was widely cited by the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, which is used by decision makers worldwide to prioritize and design agricultural sector interventions aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Researchers from CCAFS made important contributions to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Fifth Assessment Report, which was published in 2014. In this way, CCAFS has helped decision makers worldwide to prioritize and design agricultural sector interventions aimed at mitigating and adapting to climate change.

The 2014 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report cited CGIAR research 173 % more than the 2007 report, in chapters on agriculture, forestry and land use. CGIAR science made up 6.5% of total citations in those chapters.

Citations of papers by CGIAR and CCAFS scientists in the Fifth Assessment reports were far higher than in previous reports. CCAFS researcher Professor Andy Challinor, who is based at the University of Leeds in the UK, was a lead author of the chapter on ‘Food security and food production systems’ in the report on Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. The chapter shows that on average, climate change will have an increasingly negative impact on crop yields from the 2030s onwards. The impact will be greatest in the second half of the century, which will see yields fall by more than 25% in some cases, relative to late-20th-century levels. At the same time, harvests will become more variable because of an increase in extreme weather events. Tropical regions will be affected most severely; projections indicated that crop yields in the tropics are very likely to fall from the 2080s onwards, regardless of any adaptations that might be implemented. In general, climate change effects on productivity will alter land use patterns, both in terms of the total area sown to crops and the geographic distribution of crops.

“Climate change means a less predictable harvest, with different countries winning and losing in different years. The overall picture remains negative, but we are starting to see how research can support adaptation.” Professor Andy Challinor, CCAFS researcher

The report on Mitigation of Climate Change, released at the same time, includes a chapter covering the contribution of all agricultural subsectors to climate change, including livestock. The chapter uses new estimates from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), and for the first time, these estimates differentiate among various livestock systems and their locations, rather than treating the entire livestock sector in the same way. This new evidence base enables researchers and policy makers to make better-informed decisions, choosing which types of livestock system and which areas to prioritize in efforts to reduce methane emissions.

Reaching assessment fifth makers policy

As part of a major public awareness effort, CCAFS produced a summary of IPCC findings on climate change impacts and adaptation options for agriculture. This was published within days after release of IPCC report, accompanied by infographics that highlight key findings. This summary was downloaded over 18,000 times in 2014.

In two major events co-hosted by CCAFS and partners, experts shared their views on the IPCC findings and implications for smallholder farming. An event on adaptation, held in London on 3 April, focused on agricultural growth, food security, and climate change. The event was jointly organized by CCAFS, the UK Department of International Development (DFID), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), The Prince’s Charities International Sustainability Unit, Willis, and the World Bank. An event on mitigation, held in Washington, D.C., on 16 April, identified opportunities for reducing GHGs in agriculture, while also enhancing its resilience and strengthening food security. The event was organised with the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) and the World Bank. In relation to the IPCC report, CCAFS work was covered by several media outlets, including the GuardianForbes.comDeutsche Welle, the Hindu Business Line, and Xinhua News Agency.

The new IPCC report has informed policy makers across the world. For instance, the EU, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the chairwoman of the US Senate Budget Committee, and the vice-president of the World Bank have all used it to argue for more international cooperation on climate change.

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