Economic Analysis of the Impact of Climate Change on Agriculture in Russia | Effects Of Global Warming

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Climate change is already having a negative impact on agricultural production in Russia, especially grain production, the sector most dependent on weather and climate factors. In 2010 and 2012, drought caused a significant drop in grain production, which led to increase in grain prices. The total losses resulting from poor harvests exceeded RUB 300bn in those years and the cost of these losses was pushed on to consumers who had to pay significantly higher bread prices
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  OXFAM RESEARCH REPORTS APRIL 2013 Oxfam Research Reports  are written to share research results, to contribute to public debate and to invite feedback on development and humanitarian policy and practice. They do not necessarily reflect Oxfam policy positions. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of Oxfam.  www.oxfam.org ECONOMIC ANALYSIS OF THE IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON AGRICULTURE IN RUSSIA NATIONAL AND REGIONAL ASPECTS  GEORGIY SAFONOV Director of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, National Research University Higher School of Economics YULIA SAFONOVA Member of the research team, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, National Research University Higher School of Economics Climate change is already having a negative impact on agricultural production in Russia, especially grain production, since this sector is perhaps the most dependent on weather and climate factors. This report presents an economic evaluation of the impact of climate change on crop production at the national level and a long-term economic evaluation of the losses, profits, and risks for agriculture throughout Russia. It analyses the situation in the two the major agricultural regions, where the negative effects of climate change are especially pronounced, and examines the prospects for adapting Russia’s agriculture to climate change.    2 Impacts of climate change on agriculture in Russia CONTENTS Executive Summary ...................................................................... 3   Introduction ................................................................................... 6   1. Economic evaluation of the impact of climate change on grain production in Russia ........................................................... 7   1.1. Methodological aspects ...................................................................................... 7   1.2. Is Russia’s climate changing, and in what way?  ................................................. 7   1.3. Impact of climate on agricultural production (natural output indicators) ............. 10   1.4. Impact on price metrics .................................................................................... 14   1.5. State of the industry ......................................................................................... 18   1.6. Integrated economic assessment ..................................................................... 22   2. Analysis of the effect of climate change on the agro-industrial sector in Russia's regions ......................................... 26   2.1. Case study 1: The Altai region .......................................................................... 26   2.2. Case study 2: Voronezh region ........................................................................ 32   3. Issues of adapting agriculture to climate change in Russia ... 40   Bibliography ................................................................................ 43   Notes ............................................................................................ 45    Impacts of climate change on agriculture in Russia 3 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY  Already climate change is having a negative impact on agricultural production in Russia. Forecasts until 2050 and beyond are rather pessimistic: Russia’s climate is expected to change at a quicker pace and more drastically than at any time in the last 100 to 150 years. This will not only result in a higher surface temperature, but also in changes in precipitation and in a greater number of hydrometeorological hazards such as floods, drought, heat and cold waves, uncharacteristic freezing temperatures during vegetation periods, etc. Russia’s agriculture has already been confronted with the initial consequences of climate change. In 2010 and 2012, drought caused a significant drop in grain production in the country, as well as a consequent increase in grain prices. The total losses resulting from poor harvests exceeded RUB 300bn in those years. Meanwhile, the cost of these losses was pushed onto people who had to pay significantly higher bread prices  –  meaning that the most vulnerable populations were hit the hardest. The scale of the effect of climate change on agriculture is massive. Risks for producers and consumers of agricultural products are high and will continue to increase as weather and climate conditions deteriorate. Losses for the economy in general include not only losses from lower crop yield, but also price spikes on agricultural products. Climate change knows no boundaries. While all leading grain-producing regions in Russia were affected by the drought, the negative impact was more widespread. In 2010, grain production dropped in Europe, the USA, Canada, Australia, and many other countries, which resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in global grain reserves. Consequently, global grain prices went up.  Are Russian agricultural companies really ready to face the challenges posed by climate change? Research shows that, against the background of climate change, the availability of technical, energy, and financial resources is not sufficient for the sustainable development of agriculture in Russia. Agricultural companies’ accounts payable are increasing, the financial standing of over 30 per cent of large and medium-sized companies is flimsy, and their technical facilities are deteriorating, as is the social standing of residents in villages. Faced with such conditions, it is unlikely that companies will be able to withstand the negative impact of climate change on their own. We conclude that Russia’s agriculture is extremely vulnerable both financially as well as to any of the potential negative effects of climate change. In addition, agricultural companies are also poorly equipped to withstand the negative effects of climate change. Without adequate measures to adapt agriculture to climate change, the annual economic loss from a decrease in climate-determined crop yield in Russia is estimated at RUB 108bn (approximately $3.5bn) by 2020 and over RUB 120bn (approximately $3.9bn) by 2050. Potential adaptation measures differ significantly from region to region in Russia. This report contains an in- depth analysis of two leading ‘grain’ regions. The Altai region is a perfect example of a region that already experiences significant problems related to soil erosion by wind and water, the recent drought, uncharacteristic freezing temperatures and snowfalls during the vegetation period, not to mention other climate anomalies. Agricultural producers in the Altai region are suffering major losses from poor harvests, and black storms could ruin the fertile soil layer in the region’s steppes where the majority of key grain -producing districts are located.  Another example is the Voronezh region, one of the few Russian regions that has managed to weather the droughts of 2010 and 2012 thanks to a well-thought-out agricultural policy and effective measures. Yet even this region can expect to see climate aridization and a significant drop in harvests unless additional adaptation measures are taken. Climate-determined losses of grain producers in the Voronezh region could reach RUB 1.4bn (approx. $46m) by 2020 and RUB 3.5bn (approx. $114m) by 2050.  Adaptation measures must be systematic and comprehensive in nature. They must also be integrated into the development strategy for the country’s agricultural complex and into the  4 Impacts of climate change on agriculture in Russia national climate policy. It is not only the immediate impact of climate and weather factors on agricultural production (crop yield) that must be taken into account, but also risks related to the impact of climate change on the transportation infrastructure, power production, processing facilities, the social sector, etc.  According to the latest data, annual global expenses related to the adaptation of agriculture are required in the amount of $7bn, $200m of which must be invested in Europe and Central Asia, including Russia. The state programme for the development of the agricultural industry and market regulation of agricultural products, food staples, and food products markets for 2013  – 2020 provides for expenses in the amount of RUB 466.6bn (approx. $15.3bn), which includes spending on soil improvement, the introduction of new crops, measures to curb risks for agricultural producers, etc. Adaptation measures could be implemented as part of this programme, and they also fall within the scope of the Climate Doctrine. Recommended measures to increase the resilience of Russian agriculture for adaptation to climate change The management of risks stemming from climate change is complex and requires a comprehensive analysis not only of issues related to the proper cultivation and harvesting and processing of crops, but also aspects such as: ã  the vulnerability of systems of production, delivery, and food storage (logistics); ã  the impact on the price of food and consumption, especially on the lowest-income groups of the population; ã  the risk assessment of the entire production chain associated with the production and processing of agricultural products, including transportation, energy, communications, and other infrastructure affected by climate change; ã  the high risks for the survival of farmers and households engaged in growing subsistence crops in areas prone to adverse climate and weather conditions; ã  the risks associated with the growing period as well as the harvest, when there may be extreme weather phenomena as a result of which, crops may be lost or their quality significantly diminished; ã  the offsetting of agricultural yields from the south to the north, and the disposal of land in the more southern areas of agricultural activity; ã  moisture is essential for sustainable agricultural production, and it depends on climatic factors, etc. 1  It is believed that the basis of a strategy for adapting agriculture to climate change in Russia could be formed by the following measures: ã  conducting integrated regional studies to assess the risks and vulnerability of agricultural production to the negative impact of climatic and weather factors (some of this work has already been done, but not in all regions of Russia); ã  evaluating the sensitivity of the regional and national markets for agricultural products and foodstuffs to price shocks and supply reduction caused by climatic and weather factors; ã  developing and implementing large-scale regional programmes aimed at creating field-protective forest belts and other measures to prevent and reduce soil erosion and loss of topsoil; ã  accelerating the development of the agricultural sector in the non-Black Earth belt, primarily in the central, northwest, and other regions where there is sufficient moisture to ensure stability for crop production;
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