Climatic Change

, Volume 43, Issue 4, pp 745–788 | Cite as

Agricultural Impact Assessment, Vulnerability, and the Scope for Adaptation

  • J. M. Reilly
  • D. Schimmelpfennig
Article

Abstract

Climate change assessments which have considered climate impacts of a 2xCO2 climate, using models of the global agricultural system, have found small impacts on overall production, but larger regional changes. Production shifts among regions can be considered one mechanism for adaptation. Adaptation at the farm level, through changes in crops, cultivars, and production practices, is another adaptation mechanism. Existing studies differ in how important these mechanisms will be. Studies that have considered yield effects at specific sites have found very wide ranges of impacts. A useful way to evaluate the impacts of climate change, given the uncertainty about future impacts, is to consider vulnerability. Studies have defined vulnerability in terms of yield, farm profitability, regional economy, and hunger. Vulnerability and climate impacts, particularly in terms of higher order effects on profitability and sustainability, will depend on how society and the economy develop. Lower income populations and marginal agricultural regions, particularly arid or flood prone areas, are most vulnerable to climate change.

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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1999

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. M. Reilly
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Schimmelpfennig
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global ChangeMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridge
  2. 2.Economic Research ServiceU.S. Department of AgricultureWashington DC

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