by Sonja Vermeulen
Food price highs are with us yet again. For certain commodities there is a direct link to climate. Severe heat and drought in USA have sent maize over $8 a bushel for the first time in history. But do extreme “heat events” have longer-term effects on economies? Some intriguing answers appear in Temperature shocks and economic growth: evidence from the last half century, an econometric study by Melissa Dell, Benjamin Jones and Benjamin Olken, which has been available as a working paper since the major food price crisis of 2008, and is now published formally.
The study analyzes the relationship between anomalous temperatures and economic performance in 125 countries between 1950 and 2003. In short, rich countries do not show significant economic impacts from temperature shocks. But in poor countries – which also tend to be hot and agricultural* – one standard deviation upwards in mean annual temperature reduces economic growth by 0.69 percentage points. This means that years that are 1C hotter than average, which occur about once every 15 years, are associated with a mean reduction in economic growth of 1.3 percentage points.
Unsurprisingly, the impact of temperature on agriculture is key. Read more »
par Sonja Vermeulen
La flambée des prix des denrées alimentaires est encore une fois parmi nous. Pour certains produits il y a un lien direct avec le climat. Aux Etats-Unis, les fortes chaleurs et la sécheresse ont pour la première fois dans l'histoire, envolés le prix du boisseau de maïs à plus de 8 $. Mais, les "vagues de chaleur" ont-elles des effets à long terme sur l'économie? Quelques réponses intéressantes apparaissent dans Temperature shocks and economic growth: evidence from the last half century, une étude économétrique de Melissa Dell, Benjamin Jones et Benjamin Olken, qui était disponible sous forme de Working Paper depuis la crise des prix des denrées alimentaires de 2008 et qui est désormais officiellement publiée.
L'étude analyse la relation entre les anomalies de températures et la performance économique dans 125 pays entre 1950 et 2003. En résumé, les pays riches ne montrent pas des impacts économiques significatifs liés aux chocs thermiques. Or dans les pays pauvres - qui ont également tendance à être chaud et agricole*- un écart-type de la température annuelle moyenne à la hausse réduit la croissance économique de 0,69 points de pourcentage. Cela signifie que les années qui sont 1C plus chaudes que la moyenne-se qui se produit environ une fois tous les 15 ans- sont associées à une réduction moyenne de la croissance économique de 1,3 points de pourcentage.
Sans surprise, l'impact de la température sur l'agriculture est majeur. Read more »
By Lisen Stenberg
Agricultural production depends heavily on the climate, particularly in developing countries where rainfed agriculture is predominant. Therefore, information about changing environmental conditions is essential for any decision-maker in agriculture. When information is lacking, farmers have limited capacity to prepare for extreme events such as floodings and drought. When faced with uncertainty, there is a risk that farmers favor precautionary actions that protect them from the effects of environmental extremes, rather than making important investments in technology that could raise their productivity and income in the longer-term. Read more »
One of the challenges researchers face when communicating climate science is the distinction between climate and weather. The public and the media are often quick to conflate the two, resulting in confusion or worse, misinformation. Last year we covered the drought in the Horn of Africa, and highlighted the problems with attributing a single weather event to climate change.
The distinction between weather and climate is also important when communicating with farmers about the changes they can expect and plan for. In our work on Adaptation through Managing Climate Risk, we've been training farmers to read seasonal climate forecasts, to help them plan for longer term changes (as compared to weather forecasts which only predict a few days ahead).
This short video from the Norwegian TV program Siffer helps illustrate the difference between weather and climate simply and clearly.
The video was featured in a recent New York Times blog Can Better Communication of Climate Science Cut Climate Risks? by Andrew Revkin
The future of food security and the need for farmers to adapt to a changing climate was recently discussed by CCAFS Theme Leader Gerald C. Nelson when he was interviewed by the National Public Radio (USA). Also participating in the radio program ‘Feeding a Hotter; More Crowded Planet’ was the President o the Earth Policy Institute (EPI) Lester Brown and the director of Oxfam America Gawain Kripke.
Gerald C. Nelson, Senior Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and leader of the CCAFS policy analysis research together with the other participants, discussed the challenges of keeping food supplies secure in the face of a changing climate and potential solutions. Since nearly one billion people worldwide don’t have reliable access to food, something climate change might increase, solutions are more than critical. Read more »
Devastating reports coming from the Horn of Africa indicate that some places are experiencing the worst drought in 60 years. And while it may seem logical to blame the dry conditions on climate change, CCAFS theme leader Philip Thornton warns against attributing a single event to climate change. In a recent interview, he told IRIN Africa that there are challenges in projecting climate change impacts in East Africa:
”Some people think that East Africa is drying, and has dried over recent years; currently there is no hard, general evidence of this, and it is very difficult as yet to see where the statistical trends of rainfall in the region are heading, but these will of course become apparent in time.”
This entry was written by Philip Thornton, CCAFS Theme Leader.
The MarkSim GCM stochastic weather generator tool has just been updated. It now includes data from two additional climate models that were part of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report. Users can now choose from a total of six individual climate models, or they can select the average climatology of this ensemble of models, for generating daily data for future conditions. The climate models come from Australia, France, Germany, Japan, Norway and Russia. Read more »
Good climate data (long‐term temporally homogeneous time series with good spatial coverage) is critical for assessing climate‐related risks, understanding climate change in a long-term context, understanding the impact of climate on different socioeconomic activities, and producing useful climate atlases. CCAFS partners are working on downscaling data to shorter time periods and smaller geographical areas, in order to make climate data more useful for agricultural decision-makers. The conventional source of climate data has been measurements at weather stations. However, the number and quality of weather stations in Africa, Latin America and other regions has been declining. Read more »
One of the challenges for governments in planning for climate change, particularly in agriculture and food security, is the lack of information on what changes are expected for a particular area, and when these changes may occur. This is partly because climate data, tools and models often cover large areas (such as entire countries or regions), and time scales that don’t fit into the short-term outlooks of most policymakers. Scaling data, tools and models down to suit decision-makers' needs is an important first step for the CCAFS program, and will help make the existing wealth of climate information more accessible to a range of users.
“Now we are washer women, sanitary workers, wage labourers and house keepers.”
– Female farmers
The FAO recently published its report on the gender differences in adaptive capacity to climate change, according to on-the-ground surveys in India. As the introduction explains, "Gender is one of numerous important socio-cultural dimensions typically included in climate change vulnerability assessments but it is rarely incorporated in adaptation research and planning.
This research tests the hypothesis that due to gender roles (the behaviours, tasks, and responsibilities a society defines as “male” or “female”) and due also to differential gendered access to resources, men and women experience climate variability differently and cope in diverse ways with climate variability and changing climate patterns." Read more »
CCAFS Coordinating Unit - University of Copenhagen, Faculty of Science, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Rolighedsvej 21, DK-1958 Frederiksberg C, Denmark, phone +45 35331046; Email ccafs [at] cgiar [dot] org, EAN 5790000279012
Lead Center - International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)