Monday, October 01, 2007

Climate Change and Rice



Rice is the staple diet for 40% of the worlds population. Effects of climate change on rice are therefore of great significance.

As with all outcomes from climate models when we are looking at precipitation, temperature, and other factors, along with non-climatic factors the conclusions are not definitive or precise. However, the heterogeneity of the situation is significant of itself, and indeed is perhaps the most important aspect of the models. With more than 2-3 degrees warming all the trends are negative and the yields of many crops in many areas are declining, before that point there are a lot of areas making gains, and a lot loosing out. This is not a situation that farmers are going to easily adapt to and large scale migrations from one area to another will be significant without the yield necessarily decreasing.

Unfortuntely areas of Africa are amongst the hardest hit in Tyndall Centre projections:

  • Between 0.9 and 1.4°C above 1990, poor farmers income declines globally (Hare 2003). This information may not show in model results for countries whose farmers have a range of incomes.

  • Even if there are no overall impacts on the yield of a crop within a country as a whole, this picture can mask a large amount of local variation. For example, in Venezuela where a global temperature rise of 1.4-1.7°C has been predicted to decrease maize yields by 10-15%, 15% decrease maize yield (Gitay . 2001); adaptation could offset 10% of this but it hides huge local variation (Jones &Thornton 2003.
The results are more mixed in China.


Relevant Documents:
Introduction to Rice and Climate Change (effects on rice and contribution by rice farming)
Climate Change and Impacts on Grain in China
Feeding Billions, A Grain at a Time (WSJ, Article)
Least Developed Countries and Climate Change.(IIED)
*Understanding the Regional Effects of Climate Change (Tyndall Centre)

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