The Historical Impact of Anthropogenic Climate Change on Global Agricultural Productivity

Thursday November 19, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Seminar / 4:00pm-5:00pm
Ariel Ortiz-Bobea / Cornell University, Joint Seminar with UC Davis ARE
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Abstract: Agricultural research has fostered productivity growth, but the historical influence of anthropogenic climate change on that growth has not been quantified. We develop a robust econometric model of weather effects on global agricultural total factor productivity (TFP) and combine this model with counterfactual climate scenarios to evaluate impacts of past climate trends on TFP. Our baseline model indicates that anthropogenic climate change has reduced global agricultural TFP by about 21% since 1961, a slowdown that is equivalent to losing the last 9 years of productivity growth. The effect is substantially more severe (a reduction of ~30-33%) in warmer regions such as Africa and Latin America and the Caribbean. We also find that global agriculture has grown more vulnerable to ongoing climate change.