Abstract

The global food economy is vast and technologically advanced, but none the less prone to substantial negative outcomes in poor weather years. The economic gains or losses associated with climate change will depend on the pace of climate change, the response of cropping systems - including the vast number of growers, researchers, extension agents and others who determine how croplands are managed - to these changes, and the response of global markets to resulting changes in crop yields. We outline here the processes involved in each of these steps, and provide some estimates of likely and possible extreme outcomes by 2030. Though adaptation holds great promise for reducing negative outcomes, it is by no means guaranteed, and its realization will be likely to require significant advances in crop research as well as in the ability of farmers to recognize climate trends and adopt appropriate technologies.

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