11 Dec 2009

Climate change could reduce by 10% agricultural production in Europe

Straw field
Impacts of climate change on agriculture will vary considerably by region
© Nauris Paulins

After the recent release of the final report of the PESETA project on the impact of climate change in Europe, the JRC's Institute for Prospective Technological Studies (IPTS) is launching a series of monographic reports with more information on each of the sector specific studies of the project. The first such report, "Impacts of climate change in agriculture in Europe" has been published today. If the climate expected in the 2080s occurred today, European agriculture could face an annual decrease of up to 10% in crop yields, which would translate into yearly additional GDP losses of 0.32%.

All climate scenarios studied (with temperature increases in a range between 2.5°C and 5.4°C) would entail crop productivity decreases in Southern Europe caused by shortening of the growing period, with subsequent negative effects on grain filling. On the other hand, the study predicts an increase in the agricultural production in Northern Europe due to lengthened growing season, decreasing cold effects on growth, and extension of the frost-free period. It is important to notice that the simulations considered no restrictions in water availability for irrigation or in the use of nitrogen fertilizer. However, farm-level adaptation measures such as change of crops or crop management have been taken into account.

The PESETA project, financed by the JRC, has been coordinated by IPTS, while the JRC's Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (IES) has contributed the river floods impact assessment.

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