CIESIN Thematic Guides

Impacts of Global Climate Change on Agriculture

Unmitigated climate change due to increasing greenhouse gases would have global consequences such as adverse impacts on crop yields and water resources, international food insecurity triggered by drought, flooding of lands caused by sea-level rise, and migration of peoples due to environmental changes.

In Climate Change and World Food Supply, Rosenzweig et al. (1993) contend the Impact of Climate Change on Crop Production would vary from region to region across the globe. In "The Enhanced Greenhouse Effect and Its Agricultural Impact," Pittock (1990) concludes yields of agricultural crops might drop because of a decrease in stratospheric ozone, which would cause an increase in damaging ultraviolet-B radiation (UV-B).

Avoiding serious regional and year-to-year food shortages requires anticipation of and adaptation to climate change, according to Parry and Sinha (1988). The authors consider the global implications of the Impact of Climate Change on Food Security in the "Working Group Report on Food Security."

In Climate Change and World Agriculture, Parry (1990) examines the Impact of Climate Change on Sea Level in terms of crop yields, food security, and inundation of lands. The author reports that in addition to direct farmland loss from inundation, agriculture could also experience increased costs due to saltwater intrusion into surface water and groundwater in coastal regions. The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Information Unit for Climate Change (IUCC) Fact Sheet 102 (1990c) presents an overview of climate change and sea-level rise.

Corresponding Social and Economic Effects of Climate Change also come into play. For example, sea-level rise threatens the well-being of those living on small islands, in deltaic regions and low-lying coastal zones, and in other marginal environments. UNEP's IUCC Fact Sheet 111 (1990d) provides information on the socioeconomic impacts of climate change.

Pimentel (1993) offers a general review of the impacts of climate change on global agriculture in "Climate Changes and Food Supply." UNEP's IUCC Fact Sheet 101 (1990b) also provides a brief overview of the agricultural impacts of climate change.