World Population Deputy Program Director Raya Muttarak is organizing a cyberseminar on 18-25 May 2020  in the context of the Population and Environment Networks (PERN) that she is also chairing.

Food Market in Vietnam © Alyssand /

Population dynamics are at the center of the climate change-population-food security nexus. On the one hand, not only does population growth contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, it also drives demand for food. Likewise, rising incomes come with changing diets toward animal-based products, which are typically more resource-intensive and display higher environmental impacts. Population size and composition thus influence both climate change and food security. On the other hand, the impacts of climate change on human wellbeing and livelihoods are already being felt. Climate change may affect food security directly by reducing crop yields and available farming land and through adverse impacts on livestock health. Indirect effects of climate change on food security may be observed through reductions in agriculture income, conflict, or impacts on global “breadbaskets” that result in increasing (or volatile) international, national and local food prices. The level of vulnerability and ability to respond and adapt to climate change and subsequent food insecurity varies and reflects individual farmer and community factors as well as broader scale economic, governmental and policy responses. Population dynamics and characteristics thus matters both in terms of population impacts on climate change and food security and in terms of determining who is vulnerable. 

Despite the central role demography plays in climate change and food security research, the topics remain understudied among demographers. The understanding of current and future population size, composition and spatial distribution as well as differentials in dietary patterns, vulnerability and adaptive capacity will help policy planning for future climate change. This cyberseminar will focus on the applications of methodological tools and concepts in demography, geography, economics, systems analysis, and other related fields in analyzing the population-climate change-food security nexus. We will explore empirical work and future scenarios that consider the impact of population on climate and food systems and the impact of climate and weather factors and food security on population subgroups and communities. The cyberseminar provides a platform for dynamic engagement between scientists from different disciplinary communities to advance the conversation centered on the nexus of population-climate change-food security.

Raya Muttarak is chairing the Population and Environment Networks (PERN) and is the main organizer of this series. In her research at IIASA, Muttarak focuses on the intersection of social inequality, differential vulnerability and environmental change. Her research has recently been published in Science and Nature.

Hugo Valin, researcher at IIASA's Ecosystems Services and Management Program, will be speaker at this event. At IIASA, Valin is currently involved in the development of the partial general equilibrium model GLOBIOM, used to analyze land use change at the global scale. His main topics of research concern emissions from agriculture and land use change. In particular, he extensively studied the impact of biofuels policies with respect to land use change, GHG balance, agricultural prices, and welfare impacts. He is also working on the implication of productivity changes on agriculture land and the prospect of future food demand in relation with various socio-economic prospective scenarios. His final area of research concerns the link between climate change and crop productivity, and their potential impact for food security.

For more information regarding participation please visit the event website.