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 12: Policy Implications and Future Research Needs

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

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


It is now well understood that climate change will not have an identical impact on everyone. Some nations and individuals may be affected more than others, depending on geographical location, level of wealth, infrastructure development and institutional capacity. In the case of agriculture, adaptation plays a critical role as a key proactive measure for coping with likely impacts. In turn, adequate policy is a prerequisite for successful preparedness. We start with the scientific background of climate change, and ask what policy makers need to know and take into consideration in order to make more resilient decisions. GENERAL NATURAL SCIENCE AND ECONOMIC LINKS TO POLICY Climate change affects the performance of both plants and livestock. The change in crop and animal performance in turn affects economic outcomes on the farm. Scientific and economic evidence provides critical background information for policy makers to incorporate in their design of intervention policies. Crops Greenhouse gases are expected to have many effects on plants, both directly and indirectly. Plants directly respond to the levels of CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Plants also directly respond to changes in climate caused by greenhouse gases. But crops may also be affected by indirect changes such as changes in water availability for irrigation, changes in pests, and changes in weeds. Scientific inquiries that quantify the links between CO2 concentrations and crop performance, yields and climate, changes in water availability, new levels of pests and weeds are all quite important to policy makers. Elevated CO2 concentrations allow plants to reduce...

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