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Global warming may hurt some poor populations, benefit others
Date:2/20/2010

icated picture. In 11 of the 15 countries, poor people who owned their own land and raised their own crops actually benefitted from higher food prices, according to the model. In Thailand, for example, the poverty rate for people in the non-agricultural sector was projected to rise 5 percent, while the rate for self-employed farmers dropped more than 30 percent in part because, as food supplies dwindled, the global demand for higher-priced crops increased.

"If prices go up and you're tied to international markets, you could be lifted out of poverty quite considerably," Lobell explained. "But there are a lot of countries, like Bangladesh, where poor people are either in urban areas or in rural areas but don't own their own land. Countries like that could be hurt quite a lot. Then there are semi-arid countries like Zambia, Mozambique and Malawi where even if prices go up and people own land, productivity will go down so much that it can't make up for those price increases. In the 'low-yield' scenario, those countries would see higher poverty rates across all sectors."

Under the "high-yield" scenario, in which global temperatures rise just 0.9 F (0.5 C), crop productivity increased. The resulting food surplus led to a 16 percent drop in prices, which could be detrimental to farm owners. In Thailand, the poverty rate among self-employed farmers was projected to rise 60 percent, while those in the non-agriculture sector saw a slight drop in poverty. In Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and Uganda, poverty in the non-farming sector was projected to decline as much as 5 percent.

Risk management

Lobell said that, although the likelihood of the "low-yield" or "high-yield" scenario occurring is only 5 percent, it is important for policymakers to consider the full range of possibilities if they want to help countries adapt to climate change and ultimately prevent an increase in poverty and hunger.

"It's like any sort of risk mana
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Contact: Mark Shwartz
mshwartz@stanford.edu
650-723-9296
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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