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Footprints of water and energy inputs in food production - Global perspectives

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  • Khan, Shahbaz
  • Hanjra, Munir A.
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    Abstract

    During the second half of the 20th century the global food production more than doubled and thus responded to the doubling of world population. But the gains in food production came at a cost, leaving a significant environmental footprint on the ecosystem. Global cropland, plantations and pastures expanded, with large increases in fossil energy, water, and fertilizer inputs, imprinting considerable footprint on the environment. Information from pre eminent publications such as Nature, Science, PNAS and scholarly journals is synthesized to assess the water and energy footprints of global food production. The data show that the footprints are significant, both locally, national and globally and have consequences for global food security and ecosystem health and productivity. The literature nearly agrees that global food production system generates considerable environmental footprints and the situation would likely get worrisome, as global population grows by 50% by 2050. Investments are needed today to buffer the negative impacts of food production on the environment. Investments to boost water productivity and improve energy use efficiency in crop production are two pathways to reduce the environmental footprint.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Food Policy.

    Volume (Year): 34 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 2 (April)
    Pages: 130-140

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:jfpoli:v:34:y:2009:i:2:p:130-140

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/foodpol

    Related research

    Keywords: Food policy Food security Climate change Carbon sequestration Investments;

    References

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    Cited by:
    1. Jackson, T.M. & Hanjra, Munir A. & Khan, S. & Hafeez, M.M., 2011. "Building a climate resilient farm: A risk based approach for understanding water, energy and emissions in irrigated agriculture," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(9), pages 729-745.
    2. Dong, Gang & Mao, Xianqiang & Zhou, Ji & Zeng, An, 2013. "Carbon footprint accounting and dynamics and the driving forces of agricultural production in Zhejiang Province, China," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 38-47.
    3. Bazilian, Morgan & Rogner, Holger & Howells, Mark & Hermann, Sebastian & Arent, Douglas & Gielen, Dolf & Steduto, Pasquale & Mueller, Alexander & Komor, Paul & Tol, Richard S.J. & Yumkella, Kandeh K., 2011. "Considering the energy, water and food nexus: Towards an integrated modelling approach," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(12), pages 7896-7906.
    4. Roberto Roson & Martina Sartori, 2013. "Trade-offs in water policy: System-wide implications of changing water availability and agricultural productivity in the Mediterranean economies by 2050," Working Papers 2013:21, Department of Economics, University of Venice "Ca' Foscari".

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