Climate-Based Information for USAID Missions: Future Projections vs. Historical Data

By Timothy S. Thomas

Most scientists studying the impact of climate change on agriculture use climate models that project out to 2050 or beyond – some even going to 2100. Even those focusing more short-term rarely study anything earlier than 2030 – the models just have too little change in that time period for them to produce anything of interest. These climate studies can be of significant help to USAID missions when working with host governments in developing longer-range investment plans in the agricultural and environmental sectors, and can also be of help in assessing climate risk in activities that are meant to have impact for multiple decades.

Yet many climate risk assessments for USAID activities need to assess climate impacts for just a few years into the future, for example, just until the early 2020s. For those assessments, typical climate models and studies are not helpful. In such cases, missions would be better served by looking at climate trends from gridded weather data available from a number of sources.


What will a new climate mean for farming?

By Cecilia Schubert, CCAFS

The climate challenges we are facing as a globe are enormous. Changing cropping patterns, new pests and diseases, land becoming unsuitable for farming and recurrent droughts and flooding are just a short list of the many dire consequences from a changing, uncompromising, climate. Research represents here an important tool, as it delivers the much needed models, future climate predictions and knowledge on best approaches towards battling climatic change.

The research magazine Nature Climate Change recently released a special edition highlighting 16 thought-provoking and original articles on current knowledge on how how climate change will impact agriculture, how agriculture is affecting the climate and if we have the capacity to adapt to the challenges. The special edition is unique in its own sense, as it is a major dive into what climate knowledge we have so far, and what is currently missing.

Read more

Project: Analyzing Countries’ Human, Organizational and Systems Capacity and Policy Process to Proactively Respond to Impending Climate Change Challenges

What is the challenge? International research has increasingly demonstrated the devastating risks to coastal regions, particularly countries with extensive, low lying stretches of coastal land, as a result of rising sea levels. However, despite the increased attention given to climate change issues at the global level, there has been minimal organized effort to react appropriately at the country level. There is a pressing need to understand what is needed to develop and implement effective policies that mitigate climate change, especially in the context of the food and agricultural sectors. This project aims to rectify this by determining who is involved, what the individual capacities or qualifications are, what role each organization plays in the policymaking process, and what the effective capacity of the policy process system is itself.