Washington: Global warming could send world agriculture into serious decline within this century, and the hardest hit will be developing countries like India and most of Africa and Latin America, a new study suggests.
Developing countries, many with average temperatures that are already near or above crop tolerance levels, are predicted to suffer an average 10% to 25% decline in agricultural productivity by the 2080s, said the study’s author William Cline, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development.
India could see a drop of 30% to 40% in its agricultural production, while poorer nations like Sudan and Senegal are projected to suffer by as much as a 56% and 52% respectively.
On the other hand, rich countries in colder climes could experience an increase in productivity by up to 8%, according to the findings.
Overall, agricultural productivity for the entire world is projected to decline by between 3% and 16% by 2080s as a consequence of global warming.
“Some analysts have suggested that a small amount of global warming could actually increase global agricultural productivity. My work shows that while productivity may increase in a minority of mostly northern countries, the global impact of climate change on agriculture will be negative by the second half of this century,” Cline said.
“There might be some initial overall benefit to warming for a decade or two but because future warming depends on greenhouse gas emissions today, if we delay action it would put global agriculture on an inexorable trajectory to serious damage,“ he said in a statement.
Cline, who published his study in new book “Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country”, based his findings on climate models used by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
Previous studies have provided regional estimates or country estimates for just a handful of countries.