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Climate change and China’s agricultural sector: an overview of impacts, adaptation and mitigation

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J. Wang
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This study projects the impacts of climate change on China’s agricultural sector under a scenario that assumes a heterogeneous world with continuous population growth and regionally-oriented economic growth. The paper state that the effect of climate changes on rural incomes in China is complicated, drawing the following findings:

in 2030 the projected impacts of climate change on grain production range from -4% to +6%, and the effects on crop prices range from -12% to +18%
the magnitude of the impact on grain trade in China will equal about 2% to 3% of domestic consumption
the overall impact on China’s grain self-sufficiency is moderate because the changes in trade account for only a small share of China’s total demand
the average impact of higher temperatures on crop net revenue is negative, but this can be partially offset by income gains resulting from an expected increase in precipitation
the effects of climate change on farmers will vary depending on the production methods used

The authors underline that China faces several challenges. Fertilisers are a major reason for gas emissions, but changing fertiliser application practices will be no easy task. Water scarcity is increasing and will constrain climate change mitigation strategies for some farmers. So, one of the main challenges will be to determine how to increase water use efficiency. Accordingly, China’s government will have to make a great effort in response to climate change. Indeed, the government must promote policies and invest funds in adaptation. In addition, it must focus regulatory and legislative efforts, as well as investment activities, on mitigation.