Climatic Change

, Volume 120, Issue 1, pp 357-374

First online:

Climate change impacts on global agriculture

  • Alvaro CalzadillaAffiliated withKiel Institute for the World Economy Email author 
  • , Katrin RehdanzAffiliated withKiel Institute for the World EconomyDepartment of Economics, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel
  • , Richard BettsAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
  • , Pete FalloonAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
  • , Andy WiltshireAffiliated withMet Office Hadley Centre
  • , Richard S. J. TolAffiliated withDepartment of Economics, University of SussexInstitute for Environmental Studies, Vrije UniversiteitDepartment of Spatial Economics, Vrije UniversiteitTinbergen Institute

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Based on predicted changes in the magnitude and distribution of global precipitation, temperature and river flow under the IPCC SRES A1B and A2 scenarios, this study assesses the potential impacts of climate change and CO2 fertilization on global agriculture. The analysis uses the new version of the GTAP-W model, which distinguishes between rainfed and irrigated agriculture and implements water as an explicit factor of production for irrigated agriculture. Future climate change is likely to modify regional water endowments and soil moisture. As a consequence, the distribution of harvested land will change, modifying production and international trade patterns. The results suggest that a partial analysis of the main factors through which climate change will affect agricultural productivity provide a false appreciation of the nature of changes likely to occur. Our results show that global food production, welfare and GDP fall in the two time periods and SRES scenarios. Higher food prices are expected. No matter which SRES scenario is preferred, we find that the expected losses in welfare are significant. These losses are slightly larger under the SRES A2 scenario for the 2020s and under the SRES A1B scenario for the 2050s. The results show that national welfare is influenced both by regional climate change and climate-induced changes in competitiveness.