Thanks to the growing body of evidence about global warming, including the highprofile “Stern Review” and successive reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change (IPCC), public pressure for a more climate-conscious government response is increasing. In the United States, several states are adopting measures to
discourage carbon dioxide emissions, and the Supreme Court has ruled that carbon dioxide is a pollutant to be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Internationally, the European Union has established a functioning system of trading in carbon emission permits. Under the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change,
negotiations could begin later this year on the post-Kyoto regime after 2012.
But while there is growing recognition that global warming is a problem, little attention has been paid to the likely impact at the country level, especially in the developing world. This Brief, based on the new book, Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country, discusses the stakes for world agriculture, with special attention to China, India, Brazil, and the poor countries of the tropical belt in Africa and Latin America. The study shows, with more detailed and systematic estimates than previously available, that the long-term effects on world agriculture will be substantially negative, and that developing countries will suffer first and worst. The implications are sobering for all concerned about global poverty and long-term economic development.
William Cline is a senior fellow jointly at the Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics. This Brief is based on his new book, Global Warming and Agriculture: Impact Estimates by Country (Washington, DC: Center for Global Development and the Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2007). He thanks Richard Bell for preparing the initial draft of this Brief.