Video: 7 years of agricultural productivity has been lost to climate change. Global warming is already slowing us down

Credit: Elisa Finocchiaro/IFAD
Credit: Elisa Finocchiaro/IFAD

The future potential impacts of climate change on global crop production has been quantified in many scientific reports, but the historic influence of anthropogenic climate change on the agricultural sector had yet to be modeled.

Now, a new study provides these insights: “Anthropogenic Climate Change Has Slowed Global Agricultural Productivity Growth,” published April 1 in Nature Climate Change, was led by economist Ariel Ortiz-Bobea, associate professor in the Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management.

“We find that climate change has basically wiped out about seven years of improvements in agricultural productivity over the past 60 years,” Ortiz-Bobea said. “It is equivalent to pressing the pause button on productivity growth back in 2013 and experiencing no improvements since then. Anthropogenic climate change is already slowing us down.”

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Humans have already altered the climate system, Ortiz-Bobea said, as climate science indicates the globe is about 1 degree Celsius warmer than without atmospheric greenhouse gases.

“Most people perceive climate change as a distant problem,” Ortiz-Bobea said. “But this is something that is already having an effect. We have to address climate change now so that we can avoid further damage for future generations.”

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