Climate is only one of the determinants of future European agricultural production. The demand for agricultural products is expected to increase with global population growth and a growing share of disposable income. In addition, global trade of agricultural products is projected to increase and continuing research and development efforts is going to help increase agricultural yields. As yet another factor influencing future agricultural yield, it is important to understand how a changing climate will contribute to changes in crop production, in comparison to all other drivers of change.
Global temperature increases by 2°C in the 2050-2060 decade on average across IMPACT2C scenarios. By that time, the production of calories from European cropland would increase by 36% on average compared to the year 2000, if climate remains constant. As illustrated in Figure 1, the production in almost all countries are projected to increase, while in relative terms, the projected increase is going to be larger in Eastern and Northern Europe, as well as Greece, Cyprus and Malta.
Figure 1: Value of the index of calories produced from cropland (base 100 in year 2000) in the reference period, i.e., under a +2°C global warming period but assuming no climate effect on yields.
On average, a +2°C global warming would decrease the yield of crops of about -3.7% at the European scale. If we assume no adaptation takes place, this translates directly into production losses: the production index would increase only by 31% relative to year 2000 (instead of +36% under climate constant). As illustrated on Figure 2, the projected average impact on yields is negative in most countries but slightly worse in Baltic and South-Eastern countries of Europe, and slightly better in a few countries (Finland, UK, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Slovenia).
Overall, the general evolution of agricultural production index and its spatial patterns under a +2°C global warming (see Figure 3) are relatively equivalent to the case climate effects are not accounted for (see Figure 1). Under a +2°C global warming, impacts from climate change on yields remains small compared to the socio-economic drivers, if we assume no adaptation.
Figure 2: Impact of climate-change related losses in crop yields on the production index [% change relative to the baseline] in a +2°C global warming, assuming no adaptation.
Figure 3: Value of the index of calories produced from cropland (base 100 in year 2000) in the reference period, i.e., under a +2°C global warming, assuming no adaptation.
Yield losses can be counteracted at the farm level by changing management practices but also switching between crops differently affected. Imports can buffer production losses while consumers can also adjust. In addition, these are also affected by changes in competitiveness across countries inside and outside Europe (in this project, no climate change impact is considered outside Europe).
Larger reliance of Europe on imports will be the major adaptation, while consumption is not affected. European production index increases by +30% compared to the year 2000, if accounting for adaptation. This is lower than without adaptation (+31%) and in the reference period (+36%): European farmers lose competitiveness and adaptation even slightly increases production losses. At the aggregated level, climate change has an overall negative impact on European production (even with adaptation), but remains a relatively small driver of total production compared to socio-economic assumptions. However, as seen in Figure 4, the impact on the production index is much more contrasted across European countries if accounting for adaptation.
Negative impacts are stronger in most countries, while impacts are reversed in countries such as UK, France and the Netherlands. As illustrated in Figure 5 (to be compared with Figure 1), the patterns of production index are very different than under the reference period: increases are more concentrated in Mid-Western Europe UK, and Ireland (where they are stronger), and lower in Scandinavian countries (except Finland), Eastern and Southern Europe countries. Climate change is thus as important as other drivers for the evolution of production at national level, if adaptation is included.
Figure 4: Impact of climate-change related losses in crop yields on the production index [% change relative to the reference period] under a +2°C global warming, assuming producers, trade and consumers adapt.
Figure 5: Value of the index of calories produced from cropland (base 100 in year 2000) under a +2°C global warming, accounting for all drivers including socio-economic developments, climate change, and adaptation.
To investigate this, the EPIC model. The scenarios used for this analysis were varying along two main dimensions: the climatic and macroeconomic drivers. Altogether, eight climate simulations were applied as the climate drivers. These are the five mandatory climate simulations; as well as two additional simulations for the RCP2.6 and one for the A1B emission scenarios.
As macroeconomic drivers, the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways SSP1, SSP2 and SSP3 were translated in GLOBIOM with different assumptions concerning the trajectories of population, food preferences, trade regimes, and technological progress in agriculture.
Considering different SSPs and climate scenarios in total 24 simulations were performed.
David LeclereInternational Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), Austria