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.



Climate change projections

The impacts of climate change are likely to be greater on those countries more dependent on primary sector economic activities, primarily because of the increase in uncertainty on productivity on these primary sectors. Impacts include reduction in water availability in already water-stressed areas, changes in the incidence of extreme events such as typhoons and droughts, and impacts of sea level rise in low-lying coastal areas (see Easterling et al. [2007] for a summary). Modern agriculture has tried to minimise the impacts of climatic and weather uncertainty through irrigation, the substitution of labour with energy-intensive practices and plant breeding for heat or water-stress tolerant crops. Thus adaptation in agriculture takes places either by farmers individually, by farmers and local institutions collectively, or through national level policy decisions which provide finance, research and development, and knowledge transfer, and property rights or legal frameworks to enable individual or collective action.


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