Journal Article

Climate Change, Agriculture, and Developing Countries: Does Adaptation Matter?

Robert Mendelsohn and Ariel Dinar

in The World Bank Research Observer

Published on behalf of World Bank

Volume 14, issue 2, pages 277-293
Published in print August 1999 | ISSN: 0257-3032
Published online August 1999 | e-ISSN: 1564-6971 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/wbro/14.2.277
Climate Change, Agriculture, and Developing Countries: Does Adaptation Matter?

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Because most developing countries depend heavily on agriculture, the effects of global warming on productive croplands are likely to threaten both the welfare of the population and the economic development of the countries. Tropical regions in the developing world are particularly vulnerable to potential damage from environmental changes because the poor soils that cover large areas of these regions already have made much of the land unusable for agriculture.

Although agronomic simulation models predict that higher temperatures will reduce grain yields as the cool wheat-growing areas get warmer, they have not examined the possibility that farmers will adapt by making production decisions that are in their own best interests. A recent set of models examines cross-sectional evidence from India and Brazil and finds that even though the agricultural sector is sensitive to climate, individual farmers do take local climates into account, and their ability to do so will help mitigate the impacts of global warming.

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Subjects: Development Planning and Policy

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