New journal article in The Lancet: Global and regional health effects of future food production under climate change: a modelling study

Kind of crazy to think that I have had the opportunity to work on a project that got published in The Lancet. I knew the journal had extremely high visibility and impact, but intellectually knowing this and actually experiencing it are 2 different things. The journal article was released by Lancet last night and it is already getting major attention, with an article in the Guardian, an article on GIZMODO, and requests from several newspapers to talk about our findings.

While it took a lot of work and time to get the article through through the peer review process, it was a fun experience on the whole. It was great getting to collaborate with colleagues, such as Marco Springmann, at the University of Oxford to explore the effects of climate change on diets, and health. Hopefully, this is just the start of several future collaborations, which will allow us to explore the intersections of agriculture, trade, diet, and health. It is kind of crazy to think that this whole endeavor started almost 2 years ago when I met Marco in an IMPACT model training workshop I led in Cali, Colombia.

The abstract of the article is available for free at The Lancet:

Unfortunately, it looks like the full article requires a subscription to read. I am looking at what options we have for sharing the article. In the mean time, you can check out this blog post I made on the IFPRI Research blog summarizing some of the work, as well as the press release written by my colleagues at Oxford.


Loss of a literaty icon

(SUD FOTO SERGIO SIANO)I was sadden to find out that my favorite author Umberto Eco passed away recently. Several of his books are among my favorites including Baudolino, Foucault’s Pendulum, The Name of the Rose, and How to travel with a salmon and other essays.

His books were often dense with symbolism, and could read almost like a game, where he dared you to peal back all of the layers. But throughout there was a sense of self-effacement, and joy with the games you can play with words that avoided ever feeling pretentious.

The economist wrote a nice joint obituary for Umberto Eco and Harper Lee who also recently passed away.

New publication with EuroChoices on the role of irrigation efficiency and climate change

EuroChoices just released a follow up article to the work I had previously done with Ada Ignaciuk at the OECD, looking at the potential role of increasing irrigation efficiency to adapt to climate change. This article is more focused towards policy makers in summarizing some key trade offs with irrigation management (e.g. irrigation expansion and irrigation efficiency) as a vehicle for climate adaptation. You can take a look at this new article here:

For a more technical and detailed analysis you can also take a look at the first report that we did that was released last year. This report focused more on OECD countries, as compared to the EuroChoices article which has a more global focus. This report also looked at the effects of a couple hypothetical technologies to provide context to the relative improvement due to better irrigation management. You can download the report from the OECD at:

Book Review: Looking at politically incorrect history of Latin America

Historia Políticamente Incorrecta de América LatinaHistoria Políticamente Incorrecta de América Latina by Leandro Narloch
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a tough book to review. Narloch is absolutely brutal in his dissection of the idols of the Latin American left. I don’t disagree with his conclusions and that these idols do not deserve to be idolized as they are and that the left has chosen to be willfully ignorant in continuing to raise them up onto a pedestal. However, I can’t shake the feeling that it feels a bit like a hatchet job. I am not suggesting that the research was poorly done, and I realize that the objective of the book was to confront the left with its own hypocrisy, something I greatly appreciate, as the left has often ignored deplorable actions done by those on their side while shrilly attacking (and rightfully so) the deplorable acts done by the right. However, the lack of any positive message makes it at times hard reading, and I suspect will make its impact less as it probably won’t be read much by leftists who may become immediately defensive. I wonder if Narloch would have offered alternative leftist leaders who demonstrated some of the more humane characteristics it would have made the whole story more impactful. Narloch also does not focus his criticism much on the right. This is understandable as the Latin American right has gotten a fair amount of criticism in the recent past, but by not including much of this in the book it might not feel completely fair. Nevertheless, if you can get past these limitations, I think the book is definitely worth reading. I especially would like social liberals to read this to reconsider some of the absurd hero worship that has been done on some very deplorable historical figures, and at least try to be just as critical and demanding of those on our side of the ideological spectrum as we are of those on the opposite side.

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Book Review: Equality and Efficiency the Big TradeOff

Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff (A Brookings Classic)Equality and Efficiency: The Big Tradeoff by Arthur M. Okun
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very interesting book, written back in the 1970s, and still relevant. While this was written 40 years ago, the challenges between equality and efficiency is one that continues to bedevil us, and has recently returned to to forefront of discussion. Considering this, I think that this book is definitely worth revisiting especially considering the very pragmatic way that Okun approaches the subject. I really liked the way that Okun presented the issue of having to balance social good with economic efficiency. I found his frank discussion appealing, especially with how objective he tried to be showing both the pros and cons of different decisions that each society must make, as well as his own preference of where he would have liked society to have come to.

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CCAFS Annual Report

The CGIAR Research Project on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (2014) just released their 2014 annual report. They have done so in a fairly innovative and interactive online format. Lots of cool work was done for CCAFS on a variety of different topics across a range of scales and regions. Some of the work that I did last year working with the OECD was highlighted in the report, which is pretty gratifying considering how much time and effort went into the report. You can take a look at the Annual report at:

Book Review: The Price of Civilization

The Price Of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue And ProsperityThe Price Of Civilization: Reawakening American Virtue And Prosperity by Jeffrey D. Sachs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I often find reading any book by Jeffrey Sachs requires that I first remove my general dislike for an arrogance that comes through in his books with a know-it-all like characteristic that feels like he is slowly leading along a bunch of slow children to the “correct” answer. Once I was able to get past this, there was actually quite a bit that I found interesting or agreed with in this book. Sachs looks at many of the issues currently challenging our society, and I found the book a good addition to the recent literature exploring the challenges of declining social capital and trust in a post-modern world, as well as the challenges of inequality that is confronting the country

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