They can be, and why in addition to the words the sections of the report relating to food security were provided…rather than specific words. It is also worth reading the report (in part or full) to gain an appreciation of the complex nature of the science and what is trying to be predicted through modelling.
The IPCC report indicates that the global costs increases on foods due to climate change "are about as likely as not,*
I anticipate that in some locations prices could increase, while in others price may decrease…which is not very different to the historical pricing of food commodities which have largely been affected by weather events (floods, droughts, low rainfall seasons, high rainfall season, prolonged usually cool/hot weather etc), war, diesase etc.
I expect there could also be greater localised variation where fluctuation in prices in higher (higher prices than usual when commodities are scarce compare to demand and lower prices whan usual when commodities are in abundance). This could occur if the weather systems result in higher variability in seasonal weather events (the distribution of different weather events increases).
As/since the world has become more globalised, the potential fluctuations in prices have been mitigated by ability to efficiently and effectively ship foods to almost anywhere in the globe. However, globalisation has also benefited those who can afford (developed nations) the additional cost of handling, storing and transport of foods. The costs of food in developing nations is significantly higher percentage of ones income that occurs in the developed nations. The positive impact of globalisation is that there is potential that the prosperity and living standard of developing nations can increase as they can export things they are good at and import those which they aren’t. Such was not possible before globalisation and localised impacts (drought, famine, floods etc) hit very hard as they could only rely on what they had locally for sustenance…
One area not considered above is the potential move to biofuels as a result of government policy shift away from fossil fuels (especially in the heavy and long distance transport sector). The production of biofuels may compete directly with foods and if this occurs, it will result in a greater demand on food commodities which can be converted in biofuels. This has the potential to result in higher prices through supply/demand impacts on price.
While biofuels from grains, oil seeds and legumes have been often thought of as a potential solution for long distance heavy transport, they may have their own limitations if we as a globe, want to feed everyone. There is however research being carried out on waste and non-food biomass (e.g. algae) as alternatives to food based biofuels. Hopefully this finds a viable solution/alternatives.
That is right.
For may of the potential impacts, there is low confidence in what is likely to occur as a result of global warming/climate change. There are a lot of unknown unknowns which will possibly become known unknown when they come into fruition or more accurate models/data become available.
There unfortunately are many in the media who take the unknown unknowns with low level of confidence in the IPCC report and communicate this as fact as news. Any reference to potential climate change impacts should be qualified with the confidence level…if not, then it could be misreporting of the information available.
It is worth reading the volumes of the IPCC report…something I did after it came out a while ago and I understand the next report/update is due next year. Hopefully this will also be worth the time to read and I have the time to do so…
At the end of the day…the main questions are
Do we do nothing in relation to climate change and wait and see what happens and hope we (the global community) can respond?
Do we try and anticipate what the future climate change impacts are to the best of our ability, prepare or plan adaption and carry out climate change minimisation if and where possible?
I am a supporter of the second approach, but the challenges will be to anticipate what the impacts are. If we take an adaption route and the impacts are the same as anticipated or different to that anticipated, as least we are already ‘dancing’ and able to change our steps to what the future brings. It may also provide scientific and technological advances in food production which would not have otherwise been the case.
I believe that sitting and doing nothing (or sticking ones head in the sand hoping it goes away) is not a solution to the future success of the world’s population…