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Climate Change and Agriculture

Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

image of Climate Change and Agriculture

Climate change is likely to have significant impacts on the agricultural sector to which farmers will have to adapt. While agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, it is also a source of carbon storage in soils. This report examines the economic and policy issues related to the impacts of climate change on agriculture and adaptation responses and to the mitigation of greenhouse gases from agriculture. It outlines research undertaken and underway in other national and international research agencies. It also highlights some of the knowledge gaps on the impacts of climate change on food production and the uncertainties of those impacts in a global context that warrant further research efforts. In particular, the report analyses marginal abatement cost curves, which show the relative costs of achieving reductions in greenhouse gas emission through the implementation of different actions in the agricultural sector. The aim of the report is to help guide policy makers in the design of policies to address climate change issues in agriculture.

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Adaptation

The chapters above have reviewed estimates of the major impacts of climate change on agriculture and related resources at the global scale. Faced with these threats and challenges, there are two major responses for policy intervention in agriculture. The first strategy is to reduce the rate and magnitude of climate change itself through reducing the human causes of climate change i.e. mitigation of greenhouse gases, which is discussed in detail in Chapter 5. The second (and complementary) option1 is to promote adaptation to climate change to minimise the impacts and take advantage of new opportunities. Adaptation in the climate change context may also involve adjusting to changes resulting from climate impacts elsewhere in the world (such as the possible effects on markets, changing comparative advantage, increased migration) or changes resulting from mitigation actions (such as increased biofuel production and changes in land-use). There is also a need for a multi-sectoral planning approach, integrating the different aspects of agricultural production, particularly soil and water management.

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