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US farmers dodge the impacts of global warming -- at least for now
Date:5/5/2011

e caused an increase of approximately 20 percent in global market prices," said Wolfram Schlenker, an economist at Columbia University and a coauthor of the paper in Science.

He said if the beneficial effects of higher carbon dioxide levels on crop growth are factored into the calculation, the increase drops down to 5 percent.

"Five percent sounds small until you realize that at current prices world production of these four crops are together worth nearly $1 trillion per year," Schlenker said. "So a price increase of 5 percent implies roughly $50 billion per year more spent on food."

Rising commodity prices have so far benefited American farmers, Lobell and Schlenker said, because they haven't suffered the relative declines in crop yield that the rest of the world has been experiencing.

"It will be interesting to see what happens over the next decade in North America," Lobell said. "But to me the key message is not necessarily the specifics of each country. I think the real take-home message is that climate change is not just about the future, but that it is affecting agriculture now. Accordingly, efforts to adapt agriculture such as by developing more heat- and drought-tolerant crops will have big payoffs, even today. "


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Contact: Louis Bergeron
louisb3@stanford.edu
650-725-1944
Stanford University
Source:Eurekalert  

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