CGRA +1.5 and 2°C Impacts Workshop

MacCarthy-Ashfaq AgMIP West Africa Regional Team Leader, Dr. Dilys Mac Carthy, presents results from West Africa (left), while Dr. Ashfaq Chattha of AgMIP-Pakistan responds to questions from participants (right) at the AgMIP CGRA workshop on Impacts of 1.5 and 2°C Warming on Agriculture held at IIASA, Laxenburg, Austria, June 12-14, 2017.

By Meridel Phillips

In April 2016 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) agreed to provide a Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty. Given the importance of agricultural sciences to these reports, AgMIP is mobilizing its global network of researchers to contribute to the information base through coordinated simulations and analyses.

This week, June 12 – 14, AgMIP is convening the second of a series of workshops on the Coordinated Global and Regional Assessment (GCRA) of the Impacts of 1.5 and 2°C Warming on Agriculture at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) in Laxenburg, Austria. The group aims to analyze the agricultural sector outcomes with global and regional economic models under unique storylines of mitigation, land use, climate-smart management, and diet standards in the form of scenarios that are consistent with a +l.5 to 2°C world for crop and economic systems across scales.

50 workshop participants from the EU, Pakistan, Ghana, and the US are sharing preliminary analyses of 1.5 and 2° assessments and establishing teams for papers aimed at contributing to the IPCC Special Report. Over the course of the workshop, participants will update and share specific protocols for the CGRA framework including exploring various anticipated policy impacts and identifying sources of uncertainty across disciplines.

The AgMIP CGRA Rapid Assessment scenario focuses on understanding the impacts of the changes in climate required to reach a stable world only 1.5 or 2°C above pre-industrial mean global temperatures. The approach aims to identify the different agricultural mitigation pathways that will keep global temperatures below the 1.5° threshold, to understand the differences between the 1.5 and 2°scenarios, and to present the changes that will result from these pathways in different aspects of the agriculture industry.

“Day one of the IIASA/AgMIP CGRA Workshop highlighted the many active regions, disciplines, and scales of research and assessment related to the agricultural implications of a 1.5 °C warming. Coordination of these studies and scenarios provides an opportunity for important reality checks and the identification of emergent challenges,” commented Alex Ruane, AgMIP Science Coordinator.

The workshop builds on results from a prior workshop held at the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington D.C. in February 2017, where the scope, goals and anticipated preliminary results of the project were established.

Since then the effort has incorporated scenarios modeled by researchers with the Half a degree Additional warming, Prognosis and Projected Impacts (HAPPI) group, among others. In addition, site-based assessments using improved models with crop rotations in agricultural systems are being advanced in conjunction with AgMIP colleagues at sites in Punjab, Pakistan, for a low-input farming system in Navrongo, Ghana, and in the southeast, plains, and front range growing zones of the United States. Economics modelers are working with Energy Modeling Forum scenarios in order to further extend their models, while beginning coordination with the AgMIP global economic management team to start running the new no-mitigation priority scenario.

As a result of the workshop the CGRA protocol framework will be updated and priority scenarios for next assessments on adaptation, mitigation, food security and food policy will be set. After completion of the main workshop, the AgMIP global economics and global gridded crop modeling teams will be convening side sessions to determine next steps and coordinate contributions to the CGRA +1.5 to 2°C Rapid Assessment project.

The workshop is possible owing to generous co-hosting by IIASA in Laxenburg, Austria, support provided by USDA OCE 58-0111-16-010 to Columbia University, and the contributions of workshop participants.