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How Barriers To Trade Can Be Barriers To Climate Change Adaptation – Analysis


Global warming is expected to dramatically reduce agricultural productivity in hotter parts of the world. This column considers ways to accommodate that change. Hot, poor countries would benefit by shifting away from agriculture into less vulnerable, non-agricultural sectors as temperatures rise, but such a reallocation of resources is unlikely without a major increase in global trade integration. As long as poor countries import little of their food, they are likely to continue specialising in agriculture to meet domestic subsistence needs, even as their farms become increasingly vulnerable to climate change.

By Ishan Nath*

A wide range of evidence suggests that global warming will have major effects on agricultural productivity throughout the world. Analysis suggests that each degree of daily temperature exposure above 30°C sharply reduces the yield of crops such as corn, soybeans, and wheat (Schlenker and Roberts 2009). As the world gets hotter, rising temperatures are projected to cause great damage to vulnerable crops and regions.

Farmers might be able to mitigate some of the harm global warming causes to agriculture by re-optimising their production decisions in response to changing conditions. Research by Arnaud Costinot et al. (2016) uses granular field-level global projections from the UN Food and Agricultural Organization of […]

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