Three Essays on Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation in Agriculture



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This dissertation investigates three economic aspects of the climate change issue: optimal allocation of investment between adaptation and mitigation, impacts on a ground water dependent regional agricultural economy and effects on global food insecurity. This is done in three essays by applying mathematical programming.

In the first essay, a modeling study is done on optimal temporal investment between climate change adaptation and mitigation considering their relative contributions to damage reduction and diversion of funds from consumption and other investments. To conduct this research, we extend the widely used Integrated Assessment Model?DICE (Dynamic Integrated Climate Economy) adding improved adaptation modeling. The model results suggest that the joint implementation of adaptation and mitigation is welfare improving with a greater immediate role for adaptation.

In the second essay, the research focuses on the ground water dependent agricultural economy in the Texas High Plains Region. A regionally detailed dynamic land allocation model is developed and applied for studying interrelationships between limited natural resources (e.g. land and groundwater), climate change, bioenergy demands and agricultural production. We find out that the effect varies regionally across hydrologically heterogeneous regions. Also, water availability has a substantial impact on feedstock mix. In terms of biofuel feedstock production, the model results show that limited water resource cannot sustain expanded corn-based ethanol production in the future.

In the third essay, a Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model is applied in an attempt to study potential impacts of climate change on global food insecurity. Our results show that climate change alters the number of food insecure people in a regionally different fashion over time. In general, the largest increase of additional food insecure population relative to the reference case (no climate change) is found in Africa and South Asia, while most of developed countries will benefit from climate change with a reduced proportion of food insecure population.

In general, climate change affects world agricultural production and food security. Integrated adaptation and mitigation strategy is more effective in reducing climate change damages. However, there are synergies/trade-offs between these two options, particularly in regions with limited natural resources.