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Earth's Future

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Climatic change, Climate change - Adaptation


Food-energy-water (FEW) systems are increasingly vulnerable to natural hazards and climate change risks, yet humans depend on these systems for their daily needs, wellbeing, and survival. We investigated how adaptations related to FEW vulnerabilities are occurring and what the global community can learn about the interactions across these adaptations. We conducted a global analysis of a data set derived from scientific literature to present the first large scale assessment (n = 1,204) of evidence-based FEW-related climate adaptations. We found that the most frequently reported adaptations to FEW vulnerabilities by continent occurred in Africa (n = 495) and Asia (n = 492). Adaptations targeting food security were more robustly documented than those relevant to water and energy security, suggesting a greater global demand to address food security. Determining statistically significant associations, we found a network of connections between variables characterizing FEW-related adaptations and showed interconnectedness between a variety of natural hazards, exposures, sectors, actors, cross-cutting topics and geographic locations. Connectivity was found between the vulnerabilities food security, water, community sustainability, and response to sea level rise across cities, settlements, and key infrastructure sectors. Additionally, generalized linear regression models revealed potential synergies and tradeoffs among FEW adaptations, such as a necessity to synergistically adapt systems to protect food and water security and tradeoffs when simultaneously addressing exposures of consumption and production vs. poverty. Results from qualitative thematic coding showcased that adaptations documented as targeting multiple exposures are still limited in considering interconnectivity of systems and applying a nexus approach in their responses. These results suggest that adopting a nexus approach to future FEW-related adaptations can have profound benefits in the management of scarce resources and with financial constraints


© 2022 The Authors. Earth's Future published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of American Geophysical Union.


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