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Adaptation and Innovation: An Analysis of Crop Biotechnology Patent Data


  • Shardul Agrawala


  • Cécile Bordier


  • Victoria Schreitter


  • Valerie Karplus

    (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)


Innovation in technologies that promote mitigation and adaptation will be critical for tackling climate change. It can decrease the costs of policy measures and provide new opportunities for the private sector. However, most discussions of innovation have focused on mitigation, while little attention has been paid to innovation for adaptation. This paper uses agricultural crop biotechnology as a case study of innovative activity. The agricultural sector is considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate change, in addition to facing the pressures of meeting the demands of a rising world population. Innovation in plant breeding to develop crop varieties that are more resilient to climate change impacts is one of several possible adaptation options for agriculture. This paper neither advocates nor discourages the use of biotechnology, but focuses on providing estimates of the level and trends of innovation in this field.

Suggested Citation

  • Shardul Agrawala & Cécile Bordier & Victoria Schreitter & Valerie Karplus, 2012. "Adaptation and Innovation: An Analysis of Crop Biotechnology Patent Data," OECD Environment Working Papers 40, OECD Publishing.
  • Handle: RePEc:oec:envaaa:40-en

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Francesco Bosello, 2010. "Adaptation, Mitigation and “Green” R&D to Combat Global Climate Change. Insights From an Empirical Integrated Assessment Exercise," Working Papers 2010.22, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    2. de Bruin, Kelly Chloe, 2011. "Distinguishing Between Proactive (Stock) and Reactive (Flow) Adaptation," CERE Working Papers 2011:8, CERE - the Center for Environmental and Resource Economics.
    3. Enrica De Cian & Elisa Lanzi & Roberto Roson, 2007. "The Impact of Temperature Change on Energy Demand: A Dynamic Panel Analysis," Working Papers 2007.46, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    4. Andrea Bigano & Francesco Bosello & Giuseppe Marano, 2006. "Energy Demand and Temperature: A Dynamic Panel Analysis," Working Papers 2006.112, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    5. Enrica De Cian & Valentina Bosetti & Alessandra Sgobbi & Massimo Tavoni, 2009. "The 2008 WITCH Model: New Model Features and Baseline," Working Papers 2009.85, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
    6. William R. Cline, 1992. "Economics of Global Warming, The," Peterson Institute Press: All Books, Peterson Institute for International Economics, number 39.
    7. Valentina Bosetti & Emanuele Massetti & Massimo Tavoni, 2007. "The WITCH Model. Structure, Baseline, Solutions," Working Papers 2007.10, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.
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    Cited by:

    1. Declan Conway & Antoine Dechezleprêtre & Ivan Haščič & Nick Johnstone, 2015. "Invention and Diffusion of Water Supply and Water Efficiency Technologies: Insights from a Global Patent Dataset," Water Economics and Policy (WEP), World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd., vol. 1(04), pages 1-34, December.
    2. Ortiz, R., 2014. "Plant genetic engineering, climate change and food security," IWMI Working Papers H046809, International Water Management Institute.

    More about this item


    adaptation; adaptation; agriculture; agriculture; biotechnologie; biotechnology; brevets; changement climatique; climate change; innovation; innovation; patents;

    JEL classification:

    • O39 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights - - - Other
    • Q16 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - R&D; Agricultural Technology; Biofuels; Agricultural Extension Services
    • Q54 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Climate; Natural Disasters and their Management; Global Warming

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