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Climatic Change

, Volume 66, Issue 1–2, pp 191–238 | Cite as

Effects of Greenhouse Gas Emissions on World Agriculture, Food Consumption, and Economic Welfare

  • Roy Darwin
Article

Abstract

Because of many uncertainties, quantitative estimates of agriculturally related economic impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are often given low confidence. A major source of uncertainty is our inability to accurately project future changes in economic activity, emissions, and climate. This paper focuses on two issues. First, to what extent do variable projections of climate generate uncertainty in agriculturally related economic impacts? Second, to what extent do agriculturally related economic impacts of greenhouse gas emissions depend on economic conditions at the time of impacts? Results indicate that uncertainty due to variable projections of climate is fairly large for most of the economic effects evaluated in this analysis. Results also indicate that economic conditions at the time of impact influence the direction and size of as well as the confidence in the economic effects of identical projections of greenhouse gas impacts. The economic variable that behaves most consistently in this analysis is world crop production. Increases in mean global temperature, for example, cause world crop production to decrease on average under both 1990 and improved economic conditions and in both instances the confidence with respect to variable projections of climate is medium (e.g.,67%) or greater. In addition and as expected, CO2 fertilization causesworld crop production to increase on average under 1990 and improved economic conditions. These results suggest that crop production may be a fairly robust indicator of the potential impacts of greenhouse gas emissions.A somewhat unexpected finding is that improved economic conditions are not necessarily a panacea to potential greenhouse-gas-induced damages, particularly at the region level. In fact, in some regions, impacts of climate change or CO2 fertilization that are beneficial undercurrent economic conditions may be detrimental under improved economic conditions (relative to the new economic base). Australia plus New Zealand suffer from this effect in this analysis because under improved economic conditions they are assumed to obtain a relatively large share of income from agricultural exports. When the climate-change and CO2-fertilization scenariosin this analysis are also included, agricultural exports from Australia plus New Zealand decline on average. The resultant declines in agricultural income in Australia plus New Zealand are too large to be completely offset by rising incomes in other sectors. This indicates that regions that rely on agricultural exports for relatively large shares of their income may be vulnerable not only to direct climate-induced agricultural damages, but also to positive impacts induced by greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere.

Keywords

Income Economic Condition Crop Production Economic Effect Large Share 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roy Darwin
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Department of AgricultureEconomic Research ServiceWashingtonU.S.A

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