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World trade as the adjustment mechanism of agriculture to climate change

Juliá, Roxana, Duchin, Faye
Climatic change 2007 v.82 no.3-4 pp. 393-409
adaptation, climate change, economic impact, foods, models, trade
This paper evaluates the role of trade as a mechanism of economic adjustment to the impacts of climate change on agriculture. The study uses a model of the world economy able to reflect changes in comparative advantage; the model is used to test the hypotheses that trade can assure that, first, satisfying global agricultural demand will not be jeopardized, and, second, general access to food will not decrease. The hypotheses are tested for three alternative scenarios of climate change; under each scenario, regions adjust to the climatic assumptions by changing the land areas devoted to agriculture and the mix of agricultural goods produced, two of the major mechanisms of agricultural adaptation. We find that trade makes it possible to satisfy the world demand for agricultural goods under the changed physical conditions. However, access to food decreases in some regions of the world. Other patterns also emerge that indicate areas of concern in relying on trade as a mechanism for the adjustment of agriculture to likely future changes in climate.