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  1. Abstract

    The direct impacts of climate change on crop yields and human health are individually well-studied, but the interaction between the two have received little attention. Here we analyze the consequences of global warming for agricultural workers and the crops they cultivate using a global economic model (GTAP) with explicit treatment of the physiological impacts of heat stress on humans’ ability to work. Based on two metrics of heat stress and two labor functions, combined with a meta-analysis of crop yields, we provide an analysis of climate, impacts both on agricultural labor force, as well as on staple crop yields,more »thereby accounting for the interacting effect of climate change on both land and labor. Here we analyze the two sets of impacts on staple crops, while also expanding the labor impacts to highlight the potential importance on non-staple crops. We find, worldwide, labor and yield impacts within staple grains are equally important at +3C warming, relative to the 1986–2005 baseline. Furthermore, the widely overlooked labor impacts are dominant in two of the most vulnerable regions: sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. In those regions, heat stress with 3C global warming could reduce labor capacity in agriculture by 30%–50%, increasing food prices and requiring much higher levels of employment in the farm sector. The global welfare loss at this level of warming could reach $136 billion, with crop prices rising by 5%, relative to baseline.

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  2. Abstract

    Many studies have estimated the adverse effects of climate change on crop yields, however, this literature almost universally assumes a constant geographic distribution of crops in the future. Movement of growing areas to limit exposure to adverse climate conditions has been discussed as a theoretical adaptive response but has not previously been quantified or demonstrated at a global scale. Here, we assess how changes in rainfed crop area have already mediated growing season temperature trends for rainfed maize, wheat, rice, and soybean using spatially-explicit climate and crop area data from 1973 to 2012. Our results suggest that the mostmore »damaging impacts of warming on rainfed maize, wheat, and rice have been substantially moderated by the migration of these crops over time and the expansion of irrigation. However, continued migration may incur substantial environmental costs and will depend on socio-economic and political factors in addition to land suitability and climate.

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  3. Abstract

    This paper explores the interplay between the biophysical and economic geographies of climate change impacts on agriculture. It does so by bridging the extensive literature on climate impacts on yields and physical productivity in global crop production, with the literature on the role of adaptation through international trade in determining the consequences of climate change impacts. Unlike previous work in this area, instead of using a specific crop model or a set of models, we employ a statistical meta-analysis that encompasses all studies available to the IPCC-AR5 report. This permits us to isolate specific elements of the spatially heterogeneousmore »biophysical geography of climate impacts, including the role of initial temperature, differential patterns of warming, and varying crop responses to warming across the globe. We combine these climate impact estimates with the Global Trade Analysis Project model of global trade in order to estimate the national welfare changes that are decomposed into three components: the direct (biophysical impact) contribution to welfare, the terms of trade effect, and the allocative efficiency effect. We find that when we remove the spatial variation in climate impacts, the terms of trade impacts are cut in half. Given the inherent heterogeneity of climate impacts in agriculture, this points to the important role of trade in distributing the associated welfare impacts. When we allow the biophysical impacts to vary across the empirically estimated uncertainty range taken from the meta-analysis, we find that the welfare consequences are highly asymmetric, with much larger losses at the low end of the yield distribution. This interaction between the magnitude and heterogeneity of biophysical climate shocks and their welfare effects highlight the need for detailed representation of both in projecting climate change impacts.

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  4. Abstract If future net-zero emissions energy systems rely heavily on solar and wind resources, spatial and temporal mismatches between resource availability and electricity demand may challenge system reliability. Using 39 years of hourly reanalysis data (1980–2018), we analyze the ability of solar and wind resources to meet electricity demand in 42 countries, varying the hypothetical scale and mix of renewable generation as well as energy storage capacity. Assuming perfect transmission and annual generation equal to annual demand, but no energy storage, we find the most reliable renewable electricity systems are wind-heavy and satisfy countries’ electricity demand in 72–91% of hoursmore »(83–94% by adding 12 h of storage). Yet even in systems which meet >90% of demand, hundreds of hours of unmet demand may occur annually. Our analysis helps quantify the power, energy, and utilization rates of additional energy storage, demand management, or curtailment, as well as the benefits of regional aggregation.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  5. Abstract Achieving net-zero CO 2 emissions has become the explicitgoal of many climate-energy policies around the world. Although many studies have assessed net-zero emissions pathways, the common features and tradeoffs of energy systems across global scenarios at the point of net-zero CO 2 emissions have not yet been evaluated. Here, we examine the energy systems of 177 net-zero scenarios and discuss their long-term technological and regional characteristics in the context of current energy policies. We find that, on average, renewable energy sources account for 60% of primary energy at net-zero (compared to ∼14% today), with slightly less than half of that renewablemore »energy derived from biomass. Meanwhile, electricity makes up approximately half of final energy consumed (compared to ∼20% today), highlighting the extent to which solid, liquid, and gaseous fuels remain prevalent in the scenarios even when emissions reach net-zero. Finally, residual emissions and offsetting negative emissions are not evenly distributed across world regions, which may have important implications for negotiations on burden-sharing, human development, and equity.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  6. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2022