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
New research recovers nutrients from seafood process water
31.10.2018 | Chalmers University of Technology
Plant Hormone Makes Space Farming a Possibility
17.10.2018 | Universität Zürich
Researchers at the University of New Hampshire have captured a difficult-to-view singular event involving "magnetic reconnection"--the process by which sparse particles and energy around Earth collide producing a quick but mighty explosion--in the Earth's magnetotail, the magnetic environment that trails behind the planet.
Magnetic reconnection has remained a bit of a mystery to scientists. They know it exists and have documented the effects that the energy explosions can...
Biochips have been developed at TU Wien (Vienna), on which tissue can be produced and examined. This allows supplying the tissue with different substances in a very controlled way.
Cultivating human cells in the Petri dish is not a big challenge today. Producing artificial tissue, however, permeated by fine blood vessels, is a much more...
Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.
In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...
On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.
When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure
Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...
09.11.2018 | Event News
06.11.2018 | Event News
23.10.2018 | Event News
16.11.2018 | Health and Medicine
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences
16.11.2018 | Life Sciences