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WBCSD Releases Water-Energy-Food Nexus Report

WBCSDMay 2014: The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) launched a report, titled ‘Water, Food and Energy Nexus Challenges,' which indicates that increasing demand for agricultural products will strain land, water, energy and other resources, as well as contribute to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

The report highlights that food demand is expected to increase 60% by 2050 in comparison with 2005/2007, including a 60% increase in demand for animal protein by 2030. The report also predicts increased demand for wood, paper and biofuels. The report then examines the implications for land, water, energy and climate change. The report concludes that 90% of increased food production will have to come from agricultural intensification, such as increasing yields.

The report identifies possible conflicts between both domestic and industrial water use and agricultural water use. Climate change is examined as a source of increased risk, increasing the amount of water required for food production, while simultaneously decreasing the predictability of rainfed agriculture. The report also outlines the impacts of agriculture on energy, noting that a 60% increase in food demand will result in an 84% increase in energy consumption by the agriculture sector. The report notes that 75% of global land-use change is driven by agriculture, resulting in 12-14% of global GHG emissions. The report concludes that volatility in commodity markets is likely.

The report includes chapters on: forecasts on future demand for food, fiber and fodder; implications for land management; perspectives on water use; impact of climate change on agriculture; energy requirements in agriculture; impact on GHG emissions; agriculture and water quality; and impacts on markets. [Publication: Water, Food and Energy Nexus Challenges]