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Global and local economic impacts of climate change in Syria and options for adaptation:

  • Breisinger, Clemens
  • Zhu, Tingju
  • Al Riffai, Perrihan
  • Nelson, Gerald
  • Robertson, Richard
  • Funes, Jose
  • Verner, Dorte

There is broad consensus among scientists that climate change is altering weather patterns around the world. However, economists are only beginning to develop tools that allow for the quantification of such weather changes on countries' economies and people. This paper presents a modeling suite that links the downscaling of global climate models, crop modeling, global economic modeling, and subnational-level computable equilibrium modeling. Important to note is that this approach allows for decomposing the potential global and local economic effects on countries, including various economic sectors and different household groups. We apply this modeling suite to Syria, a relevant case study given the country's location in a region that is consistently projected to be among those hit hardest by climate change. Despite a certain degree of endogenous adaptation, local impacts of climate change (through declining yields) are likely to affect Syria beyond the agricultural sector and farmers and also reduce economy-wide growth and incomes of urban households in the long term. The overall effects of global climate change (through higher food prices) are also negative, but some farmers can reap the benefit of higher prices. Combining local and global climate change scenarios shows welfare losses across all rural and urban household groups of between 1.6 – 2.8 percent annually, whereas the poorest household groups are the hardest hit. Finally, while there is some evidence that droughts may become more frequent in the future, it is clear that even without an increase in frequency, drought impacts will continue to put a significant burden on Syria's economy and people. Action to mitigate the negative effects of climate change and variability should to be taken on the global and local level. A global action plan for improving food security and better integration of climate change in national development strategies, agricultural and rural policies, and disaster risk management and social protection policies will be keys for improving the resilience of countries and people to climate change.

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Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series IFPRI discussion papers with number 1091.

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Date of creation: 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifprid:1091
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  1. You, Liangzhi & Wood, Stanley, 2006. "An entropy approach to spatial disaggregation of agricultural production," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 90(1-3), pages 329-347, October.
  2. Yu, Bingxin & Zhu, Tingju & Breisinger, Clemens & Hai, Nguyen Manh, 2010. "Impacts of climate change on agriculture and policy options for adaptation," IFPRI discussion papers 1015, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  3. Horridge, Mark & Madden, John & Wittwer, Glyn, 2005. "The impact of the 2002-2003 drought on Australia," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 285-308, April.
  4. Breisinger, Clemens & Diao, Xinshen, 2008. "Economic transformation in theory and practice: What are the messages for Africa?," IFPRI discussion papers 797, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  5. Breisinger, Clemens & van Rheenen, Teunis & Ringler, Claudia & Nin Pratt, Alejandro & Minot, Nicholas & Aragon, Catherine & Yu, Bingxin & Ecker, Olivier & Zhu, Tingju, 2010. "Food security and economic development in the Middle East and North Africa," IFPRI discussion papers 985, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  6. Nelson, Gerald C. & Rosegrant, Mark W. & Koo, Jawoo & Robertson, Richard & Sulser, Timothy & Zhu, Tingju & Ringler, Claudia & Msangi, Siwa & Palazzo, Amanda & Batka, Miroslav & Magalhaes, Marilia & Va, 2009. "Climate change: Impact on agriculture and costs of adaptation," Food policy reports 21, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  7. Pauw, Karl & Thurlow, James & van Seventer, Dirk, 2010. "Droughts and floods in Malawi," IFPRI discussion papers 962, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  8. Boyd, Roy & Ibarrarán, Maria E., 2009. "Extreme climate events and adaptation: an exploratory analysis of drought in Mexico," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 14(03), pages 371-395, June.
  9. Thurlow, James & Zhu, Tingju & Diao, Xinshen, 2009. "The impact of climate variability and change on economic growth and poverty in Zambia:," IFPRI discussion papers 890, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
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