The year 2050 is two to five full cycles of plant breeding from the present. Given that it takes 3 to 20 years to develop a new cultivar, this is not a substantial time period in which to develop improved adaptation. Averaged across many crops, environments and traits, plant breeding has delivered productivity improvements of about 1 to 4% per year in the last century, usually in the context of a slowly-changing set of target environments. With rapid improvements in genotyping and phenotyping technologies, breeding programs currently have an impressive array of tools to apply to specific challenges. The climate challenge for breeders is to define what environments will occur, which ideotypes will suit these environments, and how to deploy genetic resources to adapt to climate change.