Climate change effects on pesticide usage reduction efforts: a case study in China

  • Yuquan W. Zhang
  • Bruce A. McCarl
  • Yibo Luan
  • Ulrich Kleinwechter
Original Article


China has announced plans to stabilize its pesticide use by 2020. Yet, future climate change will possibly increase the difficulty of meeting this goal. This study uses econometric estimation to explore how climate impacts Chinese pesticide usage and subsequently to project the future implications of climate change on pesticide use. The results indicate that both atmospheric temperature and precipitation increase pesticide usage. Under current climate change projections, pesticide usage will rise by +1.1 to 2.5% by 2040, +2.4 to 9.1% by 2070, and +2.6 to 18.3% by 2100. Linearly extrapolating the results to 2020 yields an approximately 0.5 to 1.2% increase. Thus, to achieve stabilization, more severe actions are needed to address this increase. Possible actions to achieve the reductions needed include using better monitoring and early warning networks so as to permit early responses to climate change-stimulated increases, enhancing information dissemination, altering crop mix, and promoting nonchemical control means. Additionally, given that increased pesticide usage generally increases health and environmental damage, there may be a need to more widely disseminate safe application procedure information while also strengthening compliance with food safety regulations. Furthermore, pest control strategies will need to be capable of evolving as climate change proceeds. Globally, efforts could be made to (1) scale up agrometeorological services, especially in developing countries; (2) use international frameworks to better align the environmental and health standards in developing countries with those in developed countries; and (3) adapt integrated pest management practices to climate change, especially for fruits and vegetables.


Climate change Integrated pest management Pesticide reduction Pesticide usage 



This work was supported by the New Faculty Start-up Grant #16X100040010 at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China. The initial work of this study received helpful feedback from scientists working at the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis. The authors also thank the editor and the two anonymous reviewers for their valuable feedback and suggestions, which substantially helped to improve this work.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Agriculture and BiologyInstitute of New Rural Development, Shanghai Jiao Tong UniversityShanghaiChina
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural EconomicsTexas A&M UniversityCollege StationUSA
  3. 3.Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management, Ministry of Civil Affairs and Ministry of Education, State Key Laboratory of Earth Surface Processes and Resource EcologyBeijing Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.International Institute for Applied Systems AnalysisBerlinGermany

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