A group of researchers from Agricultural Economy Department of the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) has published a research about climate change biophysical and economic effects in 2030’s European agriculture.

The study uses a bioeconomic modeling approach to analyze the effect of changes in agricultural production yield while considering the response of markets. “For this we combine the WOFOST model, which simulates the changes induced by climate change in crop yields, with the CAPRI agro-economic model. With the latter, we estimate the effects in crop area, production, prices and agricultural trade terms, “explains María Blanco, a UPM researcher and one of the authors of this research.

The research considers different potential scenes by 2030 because of the uncertainly about climate change effects. These scenes are built by combining: the SSP2 (Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 2) socioeconomic scene, which represents a socioeconomic development by 2030 in line with the current (same demographic, economic, technological, institutional and social trend); the most extreme greenhouse gas emissions scene, corresponding to RCP 8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway 8.5), the climate projections of three global circulation  models (HadGEM2-ES, IPSL-CM5A-LR and MIROC), and carbonic fertilization, that is to say, the effects degree that the increase in atmospheric CO2 will have on the crops productivity.

“The biophysical results show that changes in the yields are strongly influenced by the climate and the carbonic fertilization effect, producing an increase in the productivity of the crops due to this last effect. In addition, the size of the effects changes depending on the different areas and crops, with corn as one of the most negatively affected in Europe, “says María Blanco.

The economic simulations proposed by the researchers show that the changes in global agrarian production are humbler than the changes in the crop yields, due to the markets’  response. “This show us that the adjustment of prices partially mitigates the climate change effects on agricultural production worldwide, although these consequences are very different at the local and sectoral level.”

The results of this study highlight the important role of trade as an adaptation mechanism to compensate the regional disparity in the effects of climate change on agricultural productivity.

In addition, the heterogeneity of the impacts on production observed at a local level within Europe proves the importance of analyze at a sub-national level to promote the development of resilient agro-food systems resilient to climate change.

The importance of this study, in which the Joint Research Center of the European Commission also participates, is that it contributes to a better knowledge of the climate change potential effects on agriculture without forgetting the role that trade can play as a control element.

The results of the study have been presented at the International Technical Conference on Climate Change, Agricultural Trade and Food Security, organized by FAO (http://www.fao.org/economic/est/est-events-new/climatetrade/en /).

“Our goal is that the knowledge generated contribute to improving the process of political decision-making in agro-environmental matters,” concluded the UPM researcher.

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