Global temperature rise of 2 degrees brings crop losses worth $80 billion, research shows

TOKYO, Oct. 3 – A research team including the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization (NARO) has released an estimate that if the world’s average temperature rose 2 degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times due to global warming, it would bring about crop yield losses worth $80 billion, or 8.4 trillion yen, a year.

The amount of damage to crop production is equivalent to the total value of the current soybean production in the United States and Brazil.

The research shows that the losses could be reduced by 6.4 trillion yen if countermeasures are taken but the rest would remain, and calls for the need to develop and spread technologies to prevent and cope with further climate change.

NARO, together with Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries’ Policy Research Institute, analyzed the impact of climate change on the world’s major crops – rice, wheat, soybeans and corn.

They estimated the value of damage from crop losses induced by global warming, how much of the damage can be reduced by taking countermeasures and the amount of damage which will remain.

As for crop yield reductions, they predicted the impact of future climate change on grain yield for every 50 kilometers square and converted it into the amount of damage by multiplying the impact by harvest area distributions and country-by-country producer price as of around 2020.

As a result, they found that if the global average temperature rose 2 degrees from pre-industrial levels, the amount of crop losses would total 8.4 trillion yen. The amount would be 6.6 trillion yen if the temperature increased 1.5 degrees and 13.4 trillion yen if the rise was 3 degrees, according to the research.

The Paris Agreement, which was adopted at the Paris climate conference in 2015 as a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change from 2020 onwards, reaffirms the goal of limiting global average temperature increase to well below 2 degrees, while pursuing efforts to limit the increase to 1.5 degrees.

The research team’s estimates do not include as countermeasures technologies that take time to implement, such as development of new varieties.

“In order to prepare for the coming temperature rise, it is necessary to consider taking measures that involve drastic changes such as switching crops,” said Toshichika Iizumi, senior researcher at NARO’s National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences.

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