Recently Released: Challenges of Global Agriculture in a Climate Change Context by 2050

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Members of AgMIP community contribute to study on potential economic impacts of Climate change on agriculture

Summary: In response to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, scientists have been challenged to develop and analyze potential pathways to curbing global warming to below 2oC. These studies provide public policy with a greater understanding of the impacts decisions may have on future productivity. “Challenges of Agriculture in a Climate Change Context by 2050” (AgCLIM50), a report published in June 2017, provides an analysis of the associated impacts of mitigation and adaptation in the agricultural sector. Key findings from the study demonstrate: the demand agricultural production is more influenced by population developments and dietary assumptions than by Gross Domestic Product (GDP) developments; mitigation efforts on emissions have a negative impact on agricultural productivity; and prices of livestock are more impacted by mitigation efforts than crops.

The agricultural sector is both affected by and contributes to global climate change. On the one hand, changes in climate and weather conditions may have adverse impacts on crop and crop yields. On the other, the agricultural sector contributes significantly to greenhouse gas emissions. Understanding this relationship is critical to developing pathways to meeting the Paris Agreement on Climate Change commitment.

“Challenges of Agriculture in a Climate Change Context by 2050” (AgCLIM50) provides a global analysis of the dynamic relationship between climate change and agricultural production. Recently released by the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre, the report provides support to policy decision makers. It is available to download here.

AgCLIM50_table Table from AgCLIM50 showing the four climate scenarios and three shared socioeconomic pathways (SSPs). Van Meijl et al 2017

AgCLIM50 analyzes agricultural production, prices, trade, consumption, and the potential for mitigation/adaptation strategies. This comprehensive report uses 5 different models to analyze four climate scenarios with three different Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs). The findings provide significant advancements in understandings of the agricultural sector on a global scale.

The five models used are:

  • Common Agricultural Policy Regionalised Impact Modelling System (CAPRI)
  • Global Biosphere Management Model (GLOBIOM)
  • Integrated Model to Asses the Global Environment (IMAGE)
  • Modular Applied GeNeral Equilibrium Tool (MAGNET)
  • Model of Agricultural Production and its Impact on the Environment (MAgPIE)
  • Harmonization of these five different models during data input, rather than calibration of the models during analysis, allowed for a greater spectrum of output. This in turn provides the opportunity to explore a wide range of potential impacts and uncertainties and develop a greater comprehension of general global economy and agriculture trends.

    Some of the key findings worth noting are: the demand for agricultural production is more influenced by population developments and dietary assumptions than by GDP developments. Climate change may have a small, negative impact on agricultural production at the aggregated global level. Mitigation efforts on emissions (like carbon pricing) have a negative impact on agricultural production. Prices of livestock are more impacted by mitigation efforts than crops, as emission taxes more directly impact livestock production costs. All models largely agreed to the broad SSP and mitigation storylines, however specific implementation as not homogeneous across models.