RESEARCH TO POLICY: ECONOMICS OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Grow your own way
Study: Trade may not help a warming planet fight its farming failures.
Warming temperatures will take a heavy toll on agricultural productivity, according to climate scientists. How will society adjust? One possibility might be increased trade: If one country suffers a decline in, say, wheat production but can still grow as much rice as ever, then — in theory — it might grow more rice and trade for its usual amount of wheat instead.
But a new study co-authored by Arnaud Costinot, MIT professor of economics and an expert on international trade issues, suggests that international trade will do little to alleviate climate-induced farming problems. Instead, the report indicates that countries will have to alter their own patterns of crop production to lessen farming problems — and even then, there will be significant net losses in production under the basic scenarios projected by climate scientists.