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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Free trade can cushion impact of climate change on agriculture

Poor harvests, hunger and rising food prices: climate change threatens food production around the world. The solution to all of this could be free trade, researcher Hermann Lotze-Campen told EurActiv Germany. Hermann Lotze-Campen is chair of the department for Climate Impacts and Vulnerabilities at the Postdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK) and is the co-author of a new study on the influence of climate change on economic losses in agriculture. A new PIK study, which you co-authored, says that even a small increase in average temperature may have consequences on regional crops. Can this be quantified? We brought together two global computer simulation models. One calculated crop yield changes as a result of climate change, based on temperature change and fluctuating rainfall levels. The other was an agro-economic model that takes into account changing crop yields. By bringing them together, we have tried to determine how agricultural prices are going to change and what kind of losses producers and consumers can expect to experience. One thing is certain: Crop yield fluctuations as a result of climate change will lead to economic losses towards the end of the century. These losses will total about 0.8% of global economic output or about $2.5 trillion. If, in what we call scenario one, trade is not further liberalised and stays at the same level it is today, then the figure will be even higher.