Global warming could create substantial economic damage in agriculture, a new study conducted by a team of scientists of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) finds. Around the globe, climate change threatens agricultural productivity, forcing up food prices. While financial gains and losses differ between consumers and producers across the regions, bottom line is that consumers in general will likely have to pay more for the same basket of food. As the additional expenditure for consumers outweighs producers’ gains, increasing net economic losses will occur in the agriculture and food sector towards the end of the century.
However, economic losses could be limited to 0.3 percent of global GDP – depending on agricultural trade policies.
“Agriculture is very sensitive to climate change – even a small increase of global mean temperatures can have significant effects on regional crop yields, affecting both the profitability of agricultural production and the share of income spent on food,” lead author Miodrag Stevanović says.
“Our study quantifies economic impacts and analyses the role of international trade as an adaptation measure. We find that economic losses in agriculture could add up to the annual amount of roughly 0.8 percent of global GDP at the end of the century with a very restricted trade regime. As small as this percentage sounds, it actually translates to losses of 2.5 trillion US Dollars and is comparably higher for regions with limited agricultural resources with respect to growing agricultural demand, for example the Middle East, Africa and India. In contrast, further trade liberalization in agricultural commodities could reduce financial damage globally by 65 percent, to 0.3 percent of global GDP.”
Trade can balance economic impacts on agriculture due to climate change
“Both global warming and free trade favor northern regions like Europe and the US, since producers' gains increase as trade patterns shift northwards. At the same time, southern regions like Africa or India could theoretically reduce climate-change-related damages by half through more liberalized food markets,” co-author Alexander Popp explains.
“Irrespective of our assumptions on global trade, climate change will result in reduced crop yields in many areas. At the same time, intensifying production or expanding cultivated land into previously untouched areas may come at a risk: it could lead to additional greenhouse-gas emissions through tropical deforestation or increased fertilizer use.” This could then further enhance climate change pressure on agriculture.
The researchers combined 19 different climate projections with simulations of crop growth to assess economic impacts of climate change in the agricultural sector. While the magnitude of damage varies with different assumptions on crop productivity response to climate change, CO2 plant fertilization effect or socio-economic projection, the study still highlights the important role of trade as a key measure to partly reduce climate change impacts. Modelling challenges such as adverse effects of extreme weather events still remain.
Risks of food shortages also call for poverty reduction measures
If food prices increase due to climate change impacts, households will not only have to spend more on their food consumption, but could also face risks of insufficient access to food and malnutrition.
“The best way to avoid these risks is to limit climate change. However, for impacts that cannot be avoided, an open and diversified trade system can be an important adaptation option. It can account for changes in global patterns of agricultural productivity and thus allow for reducing production costs and enhancing food security,” says Hermann Lotze-Campen, chair of PIK’s research domain Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities.
“As climate change will have an amplifying effect on the gap between developed and developing countries, reductions in trade barriers will have to be accompanied by measures for poverty reduction and social safety nets.”
Article: Stevanović, M.; Popp, A.; Lotze-Campen, H.; Dietrich, J.P.; Müller, C.; Bonsch, M.; Schmitz, C.; Bodirsky, B.; Humpenöder, F.; Weindl, I.: The impact of high-end climate change on agricultural welfare. Science Advances. [DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1501452]
Link to the article: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/2/8/e1501452
For further information please contact:
PIK press office
Phone: +49 331 288 25 07
Jonas Viering | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung
Six-legged livestock -- sustainable food production
11.05.2017 | Faculty of Science - University of Copenhagen
Elephant Herpes: Super-Shedders Endanger Young Animals
04.05.2017 | Universität Zürich
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.
In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...
Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...
For the first time, scientists have succeeded in studying the strength of hydrogen bonds in a single molecule using an atomic force microscope. Researchers from the University of Basel’s Swiss Nanoscience Institute network have reported the results in the journal Science Advances.
Hydrogen is the most common element in the universe and is an integral part of almost all organic compounds. Molecules and sections of macromolecules are...
22.05.2017 | Event News
17.05.2017 | Event News
16.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Materials Sciences
22.05.2017 | Life Sciences
22.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy