Edited by Ariel Dinar and Robert Mendelsohn
Chapter 14: Agricultural Adaptation: Needs, Findings and Effects
Ruth A. Aisabokhae, Bruce A. McCarl and Yuquan W. Zhang INTRODUCTION Adaptation to climate is a long-running characteristic of agriculture evidenced by the varying types and forms of agricultural enterprises associated with differing climatic conditions. Climate change, however, poses a substantial, additional adaptation challenge for agriculture (broadly defined here to include forestry) that will probably stimulate further shifts in location of production and processing, changes in management and altered research needs along with other influences (McCarl, 2007; Antle, 2009). Adaptation has been defined as an adjustment in natural or human systems in response to actual or expected climatic stimuli or their effects that moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities (IPCC WGI, 2001). Adaptation can be anticipatory or reactive, in addition to being planned or autonomous. In this chapter, we review the agricultural adaptation issue in terms of (a) needs for adaptation; (b) ways people have adapted so far, and (c) the value of select adaptations. To do this we primarily rely on the literature but at the end present some quantitative results on the economic value of various strategies. THE INEVITABILITY OF ADAPTATION A substantial degree of climate change appears inevitable. Efforts to limit greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are emerging slowly, while emissions continue to rise rapidly. Furthermore, it appears that given projected socioeconomic growth and lags in shifting the energy system, it is almost certain that emissions will continue to grow, causing substantial climate change. Moreover, even if net emissions fell to zero it would take a substantial time...
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