The Challenges of Sustainably Feeding a Growing Planet
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The key determinant of global food prices in 2050 will be the rate of overall technological progress in agriculture. There are two competing views of the world. Pessimists point to the slowing rate of yield growth in many key breadbaskets, suggesting this will be exacerbated by climate change. In contrast, optimists point to evidence that global agricultural productivity growth has continued to rise – fueled by record public R&D investments in China, India and Brazil, as well as by the private sector. However, future agricultural land use is to face increasing competition from environmental services, including carbon sequestration and biodiversity. Global regulation of carbon pollution could radically reshape the way we manage the world's land resources, as well as societal assessments of new technologies. Understanding the competing demands for global resources, and their impact on the global food system over the next century, will require greater inter-disciplinary research effort.
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