Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate Change and Agriculture

An Economic Analysis of Global Impacts, Adaptation and Distributional Effects

New Horizons in Environmental Economics series

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

Despite its great importance, there are surprisingly few economic studies of the impact of climate on agriculture and how agriculture can adapt under a variety of conditions. This book examines 22 countries across four continents, including both developed and developing economies. It provides both a good analytical basis for additional work and solid results for policy debate concerning income distributional effects such as abatement, adaptation, and equity.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

Subjects: development studies, agricultural economics, economics and finance, agricultural economics, environmental economics, environment, agricultural economics, climate change, environmental economics

Extract

This book examines the impact of climate change on agriculture and what farmers do to adapt to climate. Agriculture and grazing currently occupy 40 percent of the earth’s land surface (Easterling and Aggarwal et al., 2007). Overall, agriculture is responsible for 6 percent of the world’s GDP. In many developing countries, agriculture is a primary sector of the economy and is the primary source of livelihood for about 70 percent of the rural population (Easterling and Aggarwal et al., 2007). Climate changes are expected to affect farmers throughout the world. This book examines the magnitude of the impacts to farmers, where these impacts will occur, and how farmers can adapt. Although climate change is expected to have many impacts on various sectors, few sectors are as important as agriculture. If future climate scenarios lead to a widespread reduction in food supply, there could be massive problems with hunger and starvation (Rosenzweig and Parry, 1994; Reilly, 1996). Global analyses of the total impacts of rising greenhouse gases have consistently raised concerns about agricultural impacts (Cline, 1992; Pearce et al., 1996; Reilly et al., 1996; Gitay et al., 2001; Easterling and Aggarwal et al., 2007). Virtually all developed countries are concerned about whether climate change will damage their agricultural sectors. However, several authors are concerned that agricultural losses will be especially harmful to developing countries (Pearce et al., 1996; Rosenzweig and Parry, 1994; Mendelsohn and Williams, 2004; Cline, 2007). CLIMATE CHANGE In order to understand climate impacts, it is first necessary to...