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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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Impacts and sensitivities in agriculture

The effects of climate change on agriculture are characterised by various forms of uncertainty. First, as previously mentioned, there are uncertainties concerning the rate and magnitude of climate change itself. Second, there are uncertainties around the biological response of agricultural outputs, for example with regard to CO2 fertilization. Third, there are uncertainties as to how society responds .. or even has the capacity to respond .. to projected and expected impacts. Some aspects of climate change research are limited by fundamental, irreducible uncertainties. Some of these uncertainties can be quantified, but many simply cannot, leaving some level of irreducible ignorance in our understandings of future climate uncertainty (Dessai and Hulme, 2004).

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