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Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector: An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation

Policy brief by Wang, Jinxia; Huang, Jikun; Rozelle, Scott/ ICTSD, 2010

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Agriculture accounts for more than 15 percent of China’s total greenhouse gas emissions, nearly 90 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 60 percent of methane emissions. Excessive fertilizer use is not only fueling a major portion of the nitrous oxide emissions but also is raising alarm about water pollution from agriculture. At the same time, however, there is opportunity for China’s agriculture sector to play a role in mitigating against climate change through carbon sequestration and adopting production methods that reduce emissions. In addition, the potential impact of climate change on agricultural production and prices in China could have tremendous implications for both domestic and international markets, due to the sheer size of China’s domestic demand for agricultural products.

ICTSD
International Centre for Trade
and Sustainable Development


Climate Change and China’s
Agricultural Sector:


An Overview of Impacts,
Adaptation and Mitigation


Issue Brief No. 5


J. Wang, J. Huang and S. Rozelle
May 2010


ICTSD-IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation


ICTSD
International Centre for Trade
and Sustainable Development


By Jinxia Wang, Jikun Huang and Scott Rozelle


Jinxia Wang is Senior Researcher and Jikun Huang is Director at the Center for Chinese
Agricultural Policy, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resource Research,
Chinese Academy of Sciences. Scott Rozelle is Senior Fellow, Food Security and Environment
Program, Feeman Spogli Institute, Stanford University.


Climate Change and
China’s Agricultural Sector:
An Overview of Impacts,
Adaptation and Mitigation


Issue Brief No. 5




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation


ii


ICTSD - IPC


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And


International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC)
1616 P St., NW, Suite 100, Washington, DC 20036, USA
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Visit IPC’s website at www.agritrade.org


Charlotte Hebebrand, President/CEO of IPC, and Marie Chamay Peyramayou, Manager of the ICTSD Global Platform
on Climate Change, Trade Policies and Sustainable Energy, are the persons responsible for this initiative.


Acknowledgments:


The authors would like to thank Christine St. Pierre, Charlotte Hebebrand, Christophe Bellmann, Marie Chamay Peyramayou
and Samantha Derksen for comments on earlier versions of the paper.


This paper was produced under The ICTSD Global Platform on Climate Change, Trade Policies and Sustainable
Energy—an initiative supported by DANIDA (Denmark); Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland; the Department for
International Development (U.K.); the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Sweden; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway;
Oxfam Novib; and ICTSD’s institutional partners and project supporters such as the Commonwealth Secretariat,
the Netherlands Directorate-General of Development Cooperation (DGIS), the Swedish International Development
Cooperation Agency (SIDA); and the Inter American Development Bank (IADB).


IPC wishes to thank the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and all of its
structural funders for their generous support.


ICTSD and IPC welcome feedback and comments on this document. These can be forwarded to Marie Chamay
Peyramayou, mchamay@ictsd.ch and/or Christine St Pierre, stpierre@agritrade.org.


Citation: Wang, J., Huang, J., and Rozelle, S. Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector: An Overview of Impacts,
Adaptation and Mitigation, ICTSD–IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade, Issue Brief No.5,
International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development, Geneva, Switzerland and International Food & Agricultural
Trade Policy Council, Washington DC, USA.


Copyright © ICTSD and IPC, 2010. Readers are encouraged to quote and reproduce this material for educational, non-
profit purposes, provided the source is acknowledged.


The views expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ICTSD and
IPC or the funding institutions.


ISSN 2075-5856




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ContentS


FoReWoRD v


eXeCUtIVe SUMMARY vii


1. IntRoDUCtIon 1


2. CLIMAte CHAnGe: oBSeRVeD eVIDenCe 3


3. IMPACtS oF CLIMAte CHAnGe on CRoP YIeLD AnD CRoPPInG SYSteMS:
VIeWS FRoM nAtURAL SCIentIStS 4


3.1 Climate Change and Crop Yields 5
3.2 Climate Change Impacts on Cropping Systems 5
3.3 Climate Change Impacts on Livestock 6


4. IMPACtS oF CLIMAte CHAnGe on AGRICULtURAL PRoDUCtIon, PRICeS,
tRADe, FooD SeCURItY AnD FARM InCoMe: VIeWS FRoM eConoMIStS 7


4.1 Impacts of Climate Change on Agricultural Production 7
4.2 Impacts of Climate Change on Crop Prices 8
4.3 Impacts of Climate Change on Trade 8
4.4 Impacts of Climate Change on Grain Self-sufficiency 8
4.5 Impacts of Climate Change on Farmer Income 9


5. ADAPtIVe ReSPonSeS to CLIMAte CHAnGe MADe BY GoVeRnMentS
AnD FARMeRS 11


5.1 Adaptive Responses—the Government 11
5.2 Progress on Implementation of Government Adaptation Strategies 11
5.3 Adaptive Responses—Farmers 12


6. GReenHoUSe GAS eMISSIonS AnD MItIGAtIon PoLICIeS In tHe
AGRICULtURAL SeCtoR 14


6.1 Emissions from the Agricultural Sector 15
6.2 Mitigation Policies in the Agricultural Sector 15
6.3 Practical Mitigation Actions 17


7. ConCLUSIon 19


ReFeRenCeS 21


tABLeS AnD FIGUReS 24




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FoReWoRD


When both “climate change” and “China” are topics in the same discussion, the focus is typically on energy
and manufacturing. While it receives considerably less attention, the agriculture sector is not an insignificant
source of emissions. Agriculture accounts for more than 15 percent of China’s total greenhouse gas emissions,
nearly 90 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 60 percent of methane emissions. Excessive fertilizer use is
not only fueling a major portion of the nitrous oxide emissions but also is raising alarm about water pollution
from agriculture. At the same time, however, there is opportunity for China’s agriculture sector to play a role
in mitigating against climate change through carbon sequestration and adopting production methods that
reduce emissions. In addition, the potential impact of climate change on agricultural production and prices in
China could have tremendous implications for both domestic and international markets, due to the sheer size
of China’s domestic demand for agricultural products.


This paper by Jinxia Wang, Jikun Huang and Scott Rozelle is the first Issue Brief produced by the IPC-ICTSD
Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade to be entirely devoted to one particular country. Given
the myriad challenges facing China—developing the economy, eliminating poverty, mitigating the emissions
of greenhouse gases and adapting to climate change, and ensuring long-term food security—it is deserving of
such specific consideration.


Ricardo Meléndez-Ortiz Charlotte Hebebrand
Chief Executive, ICTSD President/CEO, IPC




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eXeCUtIVe SUMMARY


Although China and the United States are the two largest emitters of greenhouse gases, China’s emissions on a per
capita basis are significantly lower than those of the U.S.: in 2005, per capita emissions in China were 5.5 metric
tons—much less than the U.S. (23.5 metric tons per capita), and also lower than the world average of 7.03 metric
tons. China’s total GHG emissions were 7,234.3 million tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e) in 2005, 15.4 percent
of which came from the agricultural sector. By comparison, total U.S. emissions were 6,931.4 million tCO2e, 6.4
percent of which were from agriculture. Within China’s agriculture sector, 54.5 percent of emissions come from
nitrous oxide, and 45.5 percent come from methane, which is the opposite of the composition of global GHG
emissions from agriculture.


Economic studies show that climate change will affect not only agricultural production, but also agricultural prices,
trade and food self-sufficiency. The research presented here indicates that producer responses to these climate-
induced shocks will lessen the impacts of climate change on agricultural production compared to the effects
predicted by many natural scientists. This study projects the impacts of climate change on China’s agricultural
sector under the A2 scenario developed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which
assumes a heterogeneous world with continuous population growth and regionally-oriented economic growth.
Depending on the assumptions used related to CO2 fertilization, in 2030 the projected impacts of climate change
on grain production range from -4 percent to +6 percent, and the effects on crop prices range from -12 percent
to +18 percent. The change in relative prices in domestic and international markets will in turn impact trade
flows of all commodities. The magnitude of the impact on grain trade in China will equal about 2 to 3 percent
of domestic consumption. According to our analysis, trade can and should be used to help China mitigate the
impacts of climate change; however, the overall impact on China’s grain self-sufficiency is moderate because the
changes in trade account for only a small share of China’s total demand.


The effect of climate change on rural incomes in China is complicated. The analysis shows that the average
impact of higher temperatures on crop net revenue is negative, but this can be partially offset by income gains
resulting from an expected increase in precipitation. Moreover, the effects of climate change on farmers will vary
depending on the production methods used. Rain-fed farmers will be more vulnerable to temperature increases
than irrigated farmers, and the impact of climate change on crop net revenue varies by season and by region.


In recent years, China has made tangible progress on the implementation of adaptation strategies in the agricultural
sector. Efforts have been made to increase public investment in climate change research, and special funding has
been allocated to adaptation issues. An experiment with insurance policies and increased public investment in
research are just two examples of climate adaptation measures. Beyond government initiatives, farmers have
implemented their own adaptation strategies, such as changing cropping patterns, increasing investment in
irrigation infrastructure, using water saving technologies and planting new crop varieties to increase resistance to
climatic shocks.


China faces several challenges, however, as it seeks to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change. Fertilizers
are a major component of nitrous oxide emissions, and recent studies indicate that overuse of fertilizer has
become a significant contributor to water pollution. Application rates in China are well above world averages for
many crops; fields are so saturated with fertilizer that nutrients are lost because crops cannot absorb any more.
Changing fertilizer application practices will be no easy task. Many farmers also work outside of agriculture to
supplement their income and opt for current methods because they are less time intensive.


In addition, the expansion of irrigated cropland has contributed to the depletion of China’s water table and
rivers, particularly in areas of northern China. Water scarcity is increasing and will constrain climate change




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mitigation strategies for some farmers. One of the main policy/research issues—as well as challenges for farm
households—will be to determine how to increase water use efficiency.


Despite the sizeable amount of greenhouse gases emitted by and the environmental impact of China’s agriculture
sector, it also offers important and efficient mitigation opportunities. To combat low fertilizer use efficiency in
China, the government in recent years has begun promoting technology aimed at calibrating fertilizer dosages
according to the characteristics of soil. In addition, conservation tillage (CT) has been considered as a potential
way to create carbon sinks. Over the last decade, China’s government has promoted the adoption of CT and
established demonstration pilot projects in more than 10 provinces. Finally, extending intermittent irrigation
and adopting new seed varieties for paddy fields are also strategies that have been supported and promoted as
part of the effort to reduce GHG emissions.




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carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide (IPCC,
2007). Among all sources of emissions, agriculture is
one of the most important contributors. According
to the World Resources Institute’s Climate Analysis
Indicators Tool (CAIT), the emission of greenhouse
gases from agricultural sources constituted 15.4
percent of China’s total
emissions in 2005,
behind only electricity
& heat and manufac-
turing & construc-
tion.1 Nitrous oxide
emissions from agricul-
tural sources (mainly
from the application
of nitrogen fertilizer)
accounted for 88.6 percent of China’s total nitrous
oxide emissions. Methane emissions from agricultural
activities (mainly from ruminant animals and the cul-
tivation of paddy rice) amounted to 59.4 percent of
total methane emissions. These emissions are impor-
tant; when comparing the consequences of different
emissions, the temperature-increasing potential from
nitrous oxide (methane) is 296 times (23 times) that
of carbon dioxide.


While agriculture is one of the most important
sources of emissions of greenhouse gases, the sector
is increasingly being recognized for its potential
to be part of the solution. This recognition of the
positive role that agriculture can play is timely.
Within China, the combination of climate change
and rapid economic growth will force the nation to
look for new ways to both deal with the unfolding
changes in weather patterns and find effective
mitigation policies/measures. In this vein, China is
currently undergoing some fundamental changes
to its climate change strategy. It is beginning to
formulate a set of plans to deal with adaptation
and mitigation issues by aiming at improved public
access to information, stronger enforcement of laws,
and higher accountability for emitters.


1. IntRoDUCtIon


The scientific community widely agrees that climate
change is already a reality. Over the past century, surface
temperatures have risen, and associated impacts on
physical and biological systems are increasingly being
observed (PRC, 2007). Climate change will bring
about gradual shifts such as sea level rise, movement
of climatic zones due to increased temperatures, and
changes in precipitation patterns. Climate change is
also likely to increase the frequency and magnitude of
extreme weather events such as droughts, floods and
storms. While there is uncertainty in the projections
with regard to the exact magnitude, rate and regional
patterns of climate change, its consequences will
change the fates of generations to come.


While climate influences virtually all aspects of life,
the impact on agricultural production is likely to
be particularly important. Despite the fact that the
relative magnitude of these impacts is still under
debate, there is general consensus that China’s
agriculture sector will be affected significantly.
Moreover, since China is a large, important
producing and trading nation, the impact of climate
change on China will likely also affect the rest of
the world via international trade. For example,
the IPCC concluded that the expected effects of
temperature increases and precipitation decreases—
under the worst case scenario—could lead to a drop
in China’s rain-fed yields of rice, wheat and maize of
between 20 and 36 percent over the next 20 to 80
years (IPCC, 2007; Xiong et al., 2008). In contrast,
cotton yields in China might increase (IPCC, 2007).
However, these figures may overestimate changes in
yield, as they do not account for the adoption of
new technologies or changes in policy in response to
climate change.


In addition, the nature of the climate impact will be
affected by the agriculture sector’s own growth since
its emissions also contribute to climate change. As
agreed by many scientists, climate change is mainly
driven by the emission of greenhouse gases, such as


The emission of green-
house gases from agricul-
tural sources constituted
15.4 percent of China’s
total emissions in 2005,
behind only electricity &
heat and manufacturing
& construction.


1 The most recent figures official emissions figures in China are from the People’s Republic of China Initial National Communication on
Climate Change, published in 1994. Recently, China has started to prepare the Second National Communication on Climate Change of
the People’s Republic of China, which will update emissions data for agricultural sector soon. The availability of GHG emission data for
China is discussed further in Section 6.




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However, in order to improve its adaptive capabilities
and realize its mitigation targets, China must first
examine several key questions. How is climate
change expected to impact production and trade
in China’s agricultural sector? Within agriculture,
where are the primary sources of emissions? What


are some of the ways
the sector can adapt
and what efforts are
already underway?
What are potential
mitigation measures
and policies that
could be promoted in
the agricultural sector
in China?


The overall goal
of this paper is to
review and document


the likely impacts of climate change on China’s
agricultural production, efforts that China might be
able to make in reducing greenhouses gas emissions
from agriculture, and analyze how these efforts
would in turn impact agricultural productivity and
trade. In order to realize this goal, we have the
following specific objectives. First, we will synthesize


the likely impacts of climate change on agricultural
production (crop yield and cropping systems),
farmer income and agricultural trade (imports and
exports) in China. Second, we will review adaptive
responses to climate change that could potentially be
made by the government and by farmers. Third, we
will review some potential mitigation measures and
policies that could be promoted in the agricultural
sector.


The remainder of this paper is organized as follows.
Section 2 briefly reviews the observed scientific
evidence on climate change in China. Section 3
synthesizes the impacts of climate change on crop
yields and cropping systems according to scientific
estimates; the discussion in this section is based
primarily on various biophysical modeling efforts.
Section 4 reports the impacts of climate change on
agricultural production, trade and farmer income.
These results are based on research carried out by
authors using economic models. Section 5 examines
the adaptive responses to climate change made by
China’s government and its producers to climate
change. Section 6 examines some alternative
mitigation policies and measures that may be
promoted in China’s agricultural sector. The final
section provides some overall conclusions.


China is currently under-
going some fundamental
changes to its climate change
strategy. It is beginning to
formulate a set of plans to
deal with adaptation and
mitigation issues by aiming
at improved public access
to information, stronger
enforcement of laws, and
higher accountability for
emitters.




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Increasing evidence shows that shifts in China’s climate
have already occurred and indicates that changes will
continue in the coming years. The average surface air
temperature across China increased 0.5-0.8˚C during
the 20th century. The upper end of this range is higher
than the global average during the same period (PRC,
2007a). Moreover, there is evidence that this process
is accelerating; most of the temperature increase took
place over the past 50 years. There is also a regional
dimension, which shows that the warming trend was
more significant in areas north of the Yangtze River.
The seasonal distribution of the temperature changes
shows that the most significant temperature increases
occurred in winter; warmer than average winters were
observed 20 consecutive years nationwide between
1986 and 2005 (Ren, 2007).


There are also signs that rainfall patterns are changing.
Although in the past 100 years there have been no
statistically significant shifts in the trend of annual
precipitation across China, there are considerable
variations among regions. Most notably, areas of
northern China saw severe decreases in rainfall;
beginning in the 1950s, rainfall decreased between
20 to 40 mm/decade on average. At the same time,
however, precipitation significantly increased in
southern and southwestern China. Since the 1950s,
rainfall levels have risen 20 to 60 mm/decade on
average in these areas (PRC, 2007; Ren, 2007). In
contrast, national average rainfall across all of China
decreased 2.9 mm/decade from the 1950s to the
1970s before increasing slightly over the period from
1999 to 2000 (PRC, 2007).


While the evidence is less conclusive, the frequency
and intensity of extreme climate/weather events
throughout China appear to have increased during the
past 50 years. Droughts in northern and northeastern
China have become more severe, and flooding in the
middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River and
southeastern China has intensified (PRC, 2007).
Although the average annual precipitation in most
years since 1990 has been higher than normal, the
pattern has been dipolar—heavier rains in the South
and more severe droughts in the North—which
seems to correspond to the more frequent weather-
related disasters (Ren, 2007).


Some uncertainty still exists regarding specific
weather changes over the next 50 to 100 years, but
there is general agreement that the climate will
continue to warm in
China and will do
so at an accelerated
pace. Projections by
scientists in China
show that the nation’s
overall annual mean
air temperature will
increase 1.3-2.1˚C by
2020 and 2.3-3.3˚C
by 2050 compared
with 2000 levels
(PRC, 2007a). The
magnitude of the
warming is projected to be greatest in the South and
the West and somewhat diminished in the North.
It is estimated that by 2030, the annual tempera-
ture will likely increase 1.9-2.3˚C in northwestern
China and 1.6-2.0˚C in southwestern China. The
Qinghai-Tibetan plateau is expected to warm 2.2-
2.6˚C by 2030.


Precipitation in China is also expected to change,
and scientists predict an overall increase of rainfall
nationwide in the coming years (Ren, 2007).
Specifically, rainfall across China is expected to
increase 2 to 3 percent by 2020 and 5 to 7 percent
by 2050. With rainfall, as with temperature, there
are regional disparities and concerns about more
frequent extreme weather events. The most significant
impact is predicted to be in China’s southeastern
coastal regions. There are reports predicting that
these changes in precipitation and dramatic weather
events could have serious impacts on the socio-
economic development of the nation and on the
welfare of China’s population. It is probable that
the arid area in western China will become larger,
and the risk of desertification would subsequently
increase (Ren, 2007; Zhang and Wang, 2007).


2. CLIMAte CHAnGe: oBSeRVeD eVIDenCe


The frequency and intensity
of extreme climate/weather
events throughout China
appear to have increased
during the past 50 years.
Droughts in northern and
northeastern China have
become more severe, and
flooding in the middle and
lower reaches of the Yang-
tze River and southeastern
China has intensified.




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China’s agricultural GDP has grown at an average of 5
percent annually over the last three decades, and while
this figure is less than the 10 percent annual growth in
total GDP, it is nonetheless respectable. Within the
agricultural sector, significant structural changes
have taken place. Commodities’ share of the total
value of agricultural output fell from 82 percent in
1970 to less than 50 percent after 2006 (NSBC,
2009). In the meantime, the more labor-intensive
and less land-intensive horticulture, livestock and
fishery sub-sectors have expanded rapidly.


While agricultural production was growing rapidly,
agricultural trade grew even faster. Agricultural trade
(both imports and exports) nearly tripled from 1980
to 1995 (Huang and Yang, 2005). During this time,
exports rose more quickly than imports. Since the
early 1980s, China has been a net food exporter. In
general, net exports of land-intensive bulk commodi-
ties such as grains, oilseeds and sugar crops have fallen
(or imports have risen). At the same time, exports
of high-value, more labor-intensive goods such as
horticultural and animal (including aquaculture)
products have risen. Grain exports, which comprised


nearly one third of
food exports in the
mid-1980s, fell to
less than 10 percent
of those levels during
the next decade. Since
the late 1990s, horti-
cultural, animal and
aquatic products have
accounted for about
70 to 80 percent of
food exports. For the


first time in several years, China’s total food imports
were recently slightly larger than its exports.


Although grain exports have been decreasing in their
relative share of total Chinese food exports, China
remains self-sufficient in rice, wheat and maize. As
Annex Table 1 indicates, China was a net exporter of
rice and maize in 2006 (101 percent self sufficiency in
rice means production was one percent higher than


demand), and wheat production was able to fully
meet domestic demand.


China has diverse agricultural production conditions
across regions, which affects the spatial distribution
of crop production
and intensity of land
use for different
crops. In the north-
east and northwest
areas of the country,
only one crop a year
is normally planted.
However in regions
along the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze
River and South China, planting three crops a year
is possible. Farmers use various cropping systems
based on local weather and resource conditions:
double-cropping rice systems (rice-rice, rice-wheat,
rice-others) are common in tropical and subtropical
areas, in some tropical areas (e.g., in Hainan prov-
ince), three-cropping rice systems are utilized by a
few farmers but are not common, and farmers in the
North China Plain commonly use cropping rotations
(e.g. maize-wheat and cotton-wheat).


Irrigation is one of the major factors contributing
to high productivity of farmland. Nearly 45 percent
of China’s farmland is irrigated, and because of the
common practice of multi-cropping on this land,
54 percent of all sown area is irrigated. The share of
irrigated land varies significantly across regions due
to diverse environmental conditions, ranging from
more than 70 percent in the East to only about 20 per
cent in the Northeast. Water shortages, particularly
in the North China Plain and the northwest part of
the country, have become more acute over the last
two decades. With intensified farm and non-farm
uses of water, the water table has declined rapidly in
northern China, and many rivers stop flowing during
the dry season (Wang et al, 2009b).


Due to differences in climate and physical features,
the particular crops under cultivation can vary widely
across regions in China. Rice is the primary grain


3. IMPACtS oF CLIMAte CHAnGe on CRoP YIeLD AnD
CRoPPInG SYSteMS: VIeWS FRoM nAtURAL SCIentIStS


In general, net exports
of land-intensive bulk
commodities such as
grains, oilseeds and sugar
crops have fallen. Since the
late 1990s, horticultural,
animal and aquatic prod-
ucts have accounted for
about 70 to 80 percent of
food exports.


Nearly 45 percent of
China’s farmland is irri-
gated, and because of the
common practice of multi-
cropping on this land, 54
percent of all sown area is
irrigated.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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crop produced and is grown in southern and central
China. Other major crops in this region include
oilseeds, vegetables and sugarcane. North and
northeastern China are the main production areas for
wheat, maize, soybeans and cotton. Sweet potatoes
are widely grown in southern China, while white
potatoes are more common in the North. Fruits and
vegetables are grown in all regions; the specific types
of produce cultivated are chosen in accordance with
the growing conditions of the region.


3.1 Climate Change and Crop Yields


Studies by natural scientists indicate that the impacts
of climate change on crop yields are expected to be
significant. Careful examination of the literature also
suggests that there are differences among the many
studies. Major findings of the existing studies are
summarized below.


The impacts of climate change on crop yields, albeit
ambiguous, are significant and will become more
amplified over time. Specifically, Xiong et al. (2008)
shows that the magnitudes of the yield impacts in
2050 on China’s three major food/feed crops (rice,
wheat and maize) ranged from -22.8 percent in the
case of irrigated maize to +25.1 percent for the case
of irrigated wheat (see Table 1).


Estimates of the impacts of climate change on crop
yields vary widely depending on assumptions about
the CO2 fertilization effect. In some studies, account-
ing for the benefits of CO2 fertilization reduces the
negative impacts of climate change on crop yields


or even results in a
projected increase in
yields (Table 1). For
example, under the
A2 scenario, without
the CO2 fertilization
effect, yields of all
crops analyzed are
projected to decrease.
However, when a
considerable CO2
fertilization effect is


factored in, yields actually increase in all cases except
that of irrigated maize.


The impacts of climate change on crop yields also
differ widely among crops. Wheat yields gener-
ally benefit most under the scenarios that account
for CO2 fertilization, while rain-fed maize and rice
yields are the most adversely affected under scenarios
that do not account for any CO2 fertilization effect.
More generally, these results indicate that wheat may
be the most resilient to the adverse effects of climate
change. Overall, rain-fed crops are projected to be
much more severely affected by climate change than
irrigated crops (Table 1).


The literature summarily suggests that there will be
large regional differences in the impact of climate
change (Lin et al., 2006). For example, in China’s
northeast region, increasing temperatures will
benefit agricultural production, but in the North
China Plain, higher incidences of drought and rising
temperatures will increase water demand per unit
of cropland area. Such dynamics are expected to
make water shortages more serious in this region and
negatively affect crop yields. In China’s northwest
region, projected precipitation increases will not be
enough to offset the chronic water shortages that limit
agricultural production. At the same time, flooding
in southeastern China is projected to become more
serious, and average yields are expected to decrease.
In other parts of the South, rising sea levels may
affect agricultural production by reducing crop area.


3.2 Climate Change Impacts on
Cropping Systems


The scientific literature also predicts that China’s
cropping systems will experience moderate changes
as a result of climate change. In this section, we
highlight two interesting sets of changes.


First, studies estimate that both planting and
harvesting dates of crops will change. For example,
warmer temperatures will allow earlier planting dates
for crops in the areas north of the Yangze River Basin
(particularly in the middle latitudes and high plateau
regions). In addition, the harvesting dates can be
pushed later in the year, extending the entire growing
season (Lin et al., 1997). As a result, producers in
some regions may be able to shift from single to
multi-cropping systems.


Overall, rain-fed crops are
projected to be much more
severely affected by climate
change than irrigated
crops. Higher incidences of
drought and rising temper-
atures will increase water
demand per unit of crop-
land area and negatively
affect crop yields.




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Second, there is evidence that the cultivated area
under both single and triple-cropping (e.g., rice-rice-
rice in Hainan of South China) systems could be
increased. Based on the results of predictions using
several alternative GCM models, temperatures in
2050 would increase 1.4˚C while precipitation would
decrease 4.2 percent (Deng et al., 2006).2 Under this


set of assumptions,
scientists estimate
that the planting
areas of single crop-
ping systems will be
able to expand 23.1
percent. At the same
time, models project


that the sown areas of three-cropping system will also
increase in southern China (Wang, 2000). The poten-
tial for cropland expansion is primarily due to the
warmer temperatures, which will allow production in
regions that were formerly too cold. It is interesting
to note that the share of cultivated area that will be
double-cropped is predicted to change only slightly:


from 24.2 percent to 24.9 percent. This, however,
does not mean that the double-cropped area is static.
According to the estimates of one research team,
double cropping regimes will be migrating towards
the middle regions of the country, where originally
only single cropping was an option.


3.3 Climate Change Impacts on Livestock


China’s grasslands have experienced a warming trend
in recent decades, particularly in Inner Mongolia
during the winter months. As a result, spring droughts
in the grassland areas are becoming more serious. The
productivity of the grasslands (in terms of its biomass
production) has trended downward since 1993 (Li
et al., 2002). In the future, continued changes in
temperature and precipitation will further decrease
the output of pasture regions (as measured by the
production of livestock—e.g., the production weight
of cattle) (Shao, 1995). For example, the production
of beef is forecast to decrease 9.8 percent by 2030.


Potential for cropland
expansion is primarily due
to the warmer tempera-
tures, which will allow
production in regions that
were formerly too cold.


2 There exists much uncertainty on projecting future temperatures and precipitation. This is due to different assumptions and model
structures. Therefore, the climate projection applied by Deng et al. (2007) is different from others that we cited in Section 2. Even the
numbers are not exactly same. The warming trend in the future, however, is confirmed by all models.




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In this section, we supplement the discussion in
the previous section, which was based on scientific
research, with a review of the economic literature.
This section will examine the effects of climate change
on production, prices and trade of agricultural com-
modities, as well as on farmer income in China.


Mirroring scientific research, economic studies dem-
onstrate that climate change will impact agricultural
production in varying degrees based on the crops
analyzed and assumptions regarding CO2 fertiliza-
tion (Wang et al., 2009a). The findings presented in
this section importantly advance the work on climate
change impact assessments in two ways. First, Wang
et al. (2009a) also find that climate change indi-
rectly affects crop production as farmers react to
changes in market signals. Second, the economic
research accounts for the ways in which changes
in trade flows and prices (which are direct conse-
quences of climate change effects in other countries)
will impact China’s agricultural sector.


Four scenarios were analyzed by Wang et al. (2009a).
They are as follows: 1) the A2 scenario with the
assumption that there is neither a CO2 fertilization
effect nor an impact of climate change on the rest
of world (S1); 2) the A2 scenario with the assump-
tion that there is no CO2 fertilization effect, but that
there is an impact of climate change on the rest of
world that can affect China (S2); 3) the A2 scenario
with the assumption that there is a CO2 fertiliza-
tion effect, but there is not an impact on China from
climate change in the rest of world (S3); and 4) the
A2 scenario with the assumption that there is both
a CO2 fertilization effect and an impact on China
from the effects of climate change on the rest of world
(S4). In the remainder of this section, we summarize
the findings of S1 to S4, which are analyzed and
explained in detail in Wang et al. (2009a). Appendix
Table 1 shows the levels of agricultural production,
trade, prices and rates of self-sufficiency in China in
2006 and 2030 under the reference scenario.3


4.1 Impacts of Climate Change on
Agricultural Production


Results show that without the CO2 fertilization
effect, grain production will fall over the projection
period (Table 2). Compared to the 2030 reference
scenario, both the
yield and sown
area of rice will fall
due to shocks from
climate change. For
rice specifically, the
decrease is largely due to a decline in water avail-
ability for irrigation. Farmers will be able to increase
inputs (e.g., adopting new seed varieties, increas-
ing labor, machine, chemical and other production
inputs) to offset some of the negative effects, but
overall, production will still decrease.


A comparison of results under the S1 and S2 scenar-
ios in Table 2 shows that accounting for the impacts
of climate change on the rest of the world (S2)
will lessen production declines in China, as higher
international prices resulting from decreased supply
will stimulate expanded grain production in China,
ceteris paribus. Production increases are primarily
due to a slight expansion of grain area through crop
area substitution and increased use of inputs with the
exception of water. In the simulation, Wang et. al.,
(2009a) already considered the impacts of climate
change on availability of water.


When the CO2 fertilization effect is considered (S3
and S4), the impacts of climate change on grain
production are drastically different. Production of
wheat and maize is projected to increase, and the
decrease in rice production is far less severe than
under S1 and S2. Once again, consideration of the
negative effects of climate change in the rest of the
world (S4) results in higher production levels than
when only accounting for the effects of climate
change in China (S3).


4. IMPACtS oF CLIMAte CHAnGe on AGRICULtURAL
PRoDUCtIon, PRICeS, tRADe, FooD SeCURItY AnD FARM
InCoMe: VIeWS FRoM eConoMIStS


Results show that without
the CO2 fertilization effect,
grain production will fall
over the projection period.


3 Under the reference scenario, demand for wheat and rice is projected to decrease as incomes and diet improve and population growth
approaches zero. As a result, prices are also expected to fall, leading to a decrease in production. Conversely, maize production is pro-
jected to increase as growing demand for meat increases the demand for livestock feed.




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4.2 Impacts of Climate Change on
Crop Prices


Without the CO2 fertilization effect, decreases in
agricultural production both in China and in the rest
of the world will result in higher grain prices. Prices
are higher under S2, the scenario that considers the
global effects of climate change, with rice prices seeing
the sharpest increase (17.6 percent). Taken with the
production impacts estimated in Table 2, these results
indicate that failure to account for the impacts of
climate change in the rest of the world would result


in underestimating
the effect of climate
change on prices and
overestimating the
effect on production
in China.


It should be noted
that grain prices
in China in 2030


would be much higher than those presented in Table
2 if there were no increase in grain imports (or no
decline in exports).4 This implies that trade is an
important tool that can mitigate the adverse impacts
of climate change on domestic production and help
China balance demand and supply gaps resulting
from climate change.


When we account for CO2 fertilization effects,
climate change is projected to have a negative impact
on grain prices. Wheat prices would see the largest
decrease because wheat production is projected to
benefit most from CO2 fertilization; the increase
in supply will place downward pressure on prices.
These results further highlight the critical impor-
tance of the potential impacts of CO2 fertilization
on future crop yields.


4.3 Impacts of Climate Change on trade


The changes in trade flows shown in Table 3 reflect
the shift in comparative advantage of crop produc-
tion caused by climate change in China and the rest
of world. As discussed above, under the scenarios


that do not account for CO2 fertilization, domestic
production in China is projected to decrease and
commodity prices
are forecasted to
increase. Following
on these results, the
analysis indicates
that Chinese exports
will decrease while
imports increase in
order to stabilize the domestic market. Once again,
the changes are less dramatic when climate change
effects in the rest of the world are considered (S2),
compared with only examining the effects of climate
change in China (S1). Of the three crops analyzed,
maize imports are projected to increase most, as
they will be needed to close the gap between rapidly
growing demand and the forecasted decrease in
domestic production under these two scenarios.


In contrast, China’s trade balance will improve under
the scenarios that consider a CO2 fertilization effect
(S3 and S4). Exports of all three commodities will
increase and imports will decline compared to the
2030 reference scenario. These results are in line with
the increase in domestic production and decrease in
prices discussed in the sections above. Of particular
note here, the impact of climate change on China’s
imports and exports depends on the relative magnitude
of the CO2 fertilization effect in China compared to
the rest of the world (analyzed under S4). In the case
of rice, the positive impact of CO2 fertilization on rice
yield in China is projected to be less than that in the
rest of world, so the price in China will rise compared
with the international rice price. Therefore, China’s
rice exports will decrease and imports will increase
relative to S3. The situation is reversed for wheat and
maize: China’s yields will increase more than those in
the rest of world, causing wheat and maize exports to
increase and imports to decrease compared to S3.


4.4 Impacts of Climate Change on Grain
Self-sufficiency


While the impacts of climate change on China’s
trade in agricultural commodities vary considerably


Trade is an important
tool that can mitigate
the adverse impacts of
climate change on domes-
tic production and help
China balance demand
and supply gaps resulting
from climate change.


Changes in trade flows
reflect the shift in compar-
ative advantage of crop
production caused by
climate change in China
and the rest of world.


4 Results in Table 2 take into account changes in trade flows when projecting price; the impacts of climate change on trade are presented
in Table 3 in the next sub-section.




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across the scenarios analyzed, the overall impact on
China’s grain self-sufficiency is moderate because
the changes in trade will account for only a small
share of China’s total demand. Under the reference
scenario in 2030, grain self-sufficiency is projected
to be 104 percent for rice (that is, production will
be four percent higher than demand—and China
will be a net exporter), 101 percent for wheat, and
92 percent for maize. Under alternative scenarios
(Scenarios 1-4), we project that China’s self-suffi-
ciency in rice, wheat and maize will change by (at
most) a few percentage points (Table 3). The negative
impact on self-sufficiency is more severe under S1
than S2, and climate change is projected to actually


improve grain self-
sufficiency when we
consider the impacts
of CO2 fertiliza-
tion on crop yields
(with the exception
of rice under S4).
Taking the refer-
ence scenario and
the results presented
in Table 3 together,
China would remain
self-sufficient in rice,
could dip slightly


below self-sufficiency in wheat under S1 but would
remain self-sufficient under the other three sce-
narios, and would remain below 100 percent self-
sufficiency in maize under all scenarios.


4.5 Impacts of Climate Change on
Farmer Income


Researchers have long pointed out that rural people
are particularly vulnerable to climate change,
especially in the case of extreme weather events such
as droughts and hailstorms (Tor, 1995). In the dry
regions of western China such as Ningxia Province, a
reduction in rainfall and an increase in the incidence
of drought in recent years have been shown to affect
local farming activities and farmer income (Ju et al.,
2008). In the following discussion, we summarize
the major results from our recent studies on the
impacts of climate change on farmer income based
on both simulation models and econometric research
(Ricardian model).


Findings based on Simulation Modeling


Using the analytical framework and models that
were discussed in the previous section on price and
trade issues, the same group of authors analyzed the
impacts of climate change on farmer income in the
3H region (Huang-Huai-Hai Plain). The 3H region
is located in northern China and covers all or part
of Beijing, Tianjin, Hebei, Shandong, Henan,
Jiangsu and Anhui Provinces. The total area is 350
km2, and it is one of most important agricultural
production regions in China. In 2007, the sown
area of wheat in the 3H region was 47 percent of
China’s total wheat area. Maize and rice production
in the 3H region comprised 27 percent and 16
percent respectively of China’s total production of
each of these crops (NSBC, 2007). Irrigation has
played an important role in promoting the growth
of agricultural production in this region.


The second study, henceforth called Wang et al.,
2009b, examines the impact of climate change
on farmer income through its effect on both
production and prices. Recall that results for S1 and
S2 presented in Table 2 indicated that production
of rice, wheat and maize would decrease while prices
would increase. As a result of combining both the
production and price effects, Wang et al. (2009b)
projects that the overall effect on farmer income will
be positive because the increase in price will be more
than the decrease in production. Farmers benefit
more under S2 compared to S1 because the positive
price effect is greater and the negative production
effect is lesser.


In contrast, the increase in production due to CO2
fertilization does not lead to corresponding increases
in farmer income. Although grain production will rise
with the positive contribution of CO2 to grain yields,
the decrease in market price will be more significant.


Findings based on the Ricardian Model


Applying a Ricardian model based on cross-sec-
tional data comprised of 8,405 households in 28
provinces, Wang et al. (2008a) empirically analyzed
the impacts of climate change (temperature and pre-
cipitation) on crop net revenue. Results reveal that
temperature has a fundamentally different effect


While the impacts of
climate change on China’s
trade in agricultural
commodities vary consid-
erably across the scenar-
ios analyzed, the overall
impact on China’s grain
self-sufficiency is moder-
ate because the changes in
trade will account for only
a small share of China’s
total demand.




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on irrigated farming compared to rain-fed farming
(Table 4), which is consistent with the scientific
research discussed previously. The key findings from
the Wang et al. (2008a) study are presented below.5


First, the effects of
climate change on
farmer income are
complex. The average
impact of higher tem-
peratures on China’s
net revenue is nega-
tive, while increased
precipitation leads to


greater net revenue on average. The results of the anal-
ysis show that a 1˚C increase in temperature results
in a decrease in annual net revenue of 10 USD per
hectare, and a 1 mm/month increase in precipitation
increases annual net revenue by 15 USD per hectare.


When the analysis separates irrigated and rain-fed
farmers, we find that warming actually helps irrigated
farmers while the incomes of rain-fed farmers are
quite vulnerable to temperature increases.6 Higher
precipitation, however, has almost identical effects
on irrigated and rain-fed farms.


The analysis also separates the effects of increasing
temperatures and precipitation by season. Warmer


temperatures in fall and spring are harmful to irri-
gated farms whereas warmer summers and winters
are beneficial (Table 4). Rain-fed farms only stand to
benefit from warmer winters and will see declining
net revenue due to warming in spring, summer and
fall. Wetter winters will benefit both rain-fed and irri-
gated farmers, and more precipitation in the spring
and fall will hurt both types of farmers. Increased
rainfall in the summer leads to higher net revenue
for irrigated farmers
but decreased net
revenue for rain-fed
farmers.


Finally, the impact of
higher temperatures
on crop net revenue
also varies by region.
With irrigated farms,
warmer temperatures
are more beneficial in the southeast and southwest
regions (Figure 1), perhaps because these areas have
abundant water resources. In the central region,
irrigated farmers enjoy mild benefits from warming.
Warming will likely help rain-fed farmers in very cold
places but harm them elsewhere in China, especially
in the far south, where the hotter temperatures will
be coupled with inadequate and unreliable water
supplies (Figure 2).


The effects of climate
change on farmer income
are complex. The average
impact of higher tempera-
tures on China’s net revenue
is negative, while increased
precipitation leads to great-
er net revenue on average.


Warming will likely help
rain-fed farmers in very
cold places but harm them
elsewhere in China, espe-
cially in the far south,
where the hotter tempera-
tures will be coupled with
inadequate and unreliable
water supplies.


5 The Ricardian model assumes that each farmer wishes to maximize income subject to the exogenous conditions of their farm. If the
farmer chooses the crop that provides the highest net income and chooses each endogenous input in order to maximize net income, the
resulting net income will be a function of just the exogenous variables (such as climate, soil conditions). With perfect competition for
land, free entry and exit will ensure that excess profits are driven to zero. As a consequence, land rents will be equal to net income per
hectare. The advantage of the Ricardian model is that it provides an estimate of the benefits derived from adaptation. However, due to
data limitation, we do not know how much water farmers used in irrigation and cannot quantify the effect of water in the economic
model. If climate change does reduce water supplies, there will be harmful impacts on agriculture.


6 In general, water is scarce in China, particularly in northern China. Per capita water availability in China is 2100 cubic meters, only
about 25 percent of the world average (Ministry of Water Resources, 2007). Due to uneven distribution, water is relatively rich in
southern China, but in northern China, per capita water availability is only about 500 cubic meters. In the past 50 years, runoff of
some major rivers in northern China has declined anywhere from 15 percent (Yellow and Huaihe Rivers) to 41 percent (Haihe River).
In addition, the overexploitation of groundwater and the resulting drop in the water table is of serious concern (Wang et al., 2009b). As
forecasted by Wang et al. (2009a), water scarcity will become more serious under climate change. By 2030, water scarcity as percentage
of total water demand will reach 9.07 percent and 7.97 percent in the Haihe and Huaihe River Basins. Even the Yellow River Basin
will be affected: water scarcity will increase to 2.74 percent in 2030.


If the climate becomes warmer, crop ET (evaporation and transpiration) will increase, and crops will require more water to grow. In the
rain-fed areas, there are no supplementary sources of irrigation; crop growth depends completely on rainfall. Therefore, in such areas
(that is, those with limited water supply from rainfall, but with no sources of alternative supplies of water from irrigation), farmers are
especially vulnerable to warming.




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Most of the results in the studies discussed above are
in some sense static analyses. They do not account for
the efforts undertaken by government officials and
farmers to respond to the effects of climate change.
If they are able to adapt adequately, it is possible that
China’s agricultural sector can actually take advan-
tage of changes in temperature and rainfall. Future
agricultural production will depend on the ability of
these actors to make effective responses. The ultimate
magnitude of the effect of climate change will also
depend on these adaptations.


5.1 Adaptive Responses—the Government


While China has been working toward reducing its
contribution to global climate change, it has only
recently begun to address climate change adapta-
tion.7 According to China’s National Climate Change
Program, established in 2007, the government is con-
sidering a number of strategies and activities in its
efforts to help the agricultural sector adapt to climate
change; a few examples are highlighted below.8


Improve agricultural infrastructure. A number
of opportunities exist for the government to invest
in infrastructure that could facilitate adaptation.
First, the government is considering accelerating the
construction of supporting facilities in large-scale,
water-saving irrigation projects. There are also efforts
to build new smaller-scale irrigation and drainage
projects in areas that are currently not irrigated.
Officials have suggested that they intend to control
the spread of middle- and low-productivity agricul-
tural zones and strengthen the restoration of degraded
farmland. For example, in areas that are currently
affected by salinization or alkalinization, investments
in soil improvement can make them more produc-
tive as temperatures rise and rainfall changes. Finally,


there are plans to accelerate the construction of water
storage projects and projects that enhance water
utilization—especially in mountainous and desert
areas.


Strengthen research and development for new tech-
nologies. One of the main roles of government has
been investment in the research and development
of agricultural tech-
nology, especially in
systems that are dom-
inated by smallhold-
ers and lack invest-
ment by large private
agricultural seed and/
or research compa-
nies. Specifically, the
government should
both continue and expand breeding programs to
encourage research on seed varieties with traits that
promote resistance to drought, water-logging, high
temperature, diseases and pests.9 In addition to these
programs, the government has pushed for research to
better understand the magnitude, source and mecha-
nisms of climate change and its consequences. For
technologies that have already been developed, the
government needs to establish the means for trans-
ferring and promoting them to all farmers. In recent
years, the extension system has deteriorated, and
efforts should be made to restore its effectiveness.


5.2 Progress on Implementation of
Government Adaptation Strategies


Although many adaptation strategies are still in the
planning stages, China has nonetheless made some
tangible progress on implementation. Specific exam-
ples are discussed below, and there are undoubtedly


5. ADAPtIVe ReSPonSeS to CLIMAte CHAnGe MADe BY
GoVeRnMentS AnD FARMeRS


The government should both
continue and expand breed-
ing programs to encourage
research on seed varieties
with traits that promote
resistance to drought, water-
logging, high temperature,
diseases and pests.


7 For at least the past 10 years, China’s government has addressed the issues of increasing energy efficiency and reducing GHG emissions.
This effort is being led by personnel in the Ministry of Agriculture; Ministry of Science and Technology and the State Environmental
Protection Agency.


8 Unfortunately, the role of trade has not been considered in the current climate change strategy.


9 This research is underway for many kinds of crops, including rice, wheat, maize, and vegetables.




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many more. Future research should provide more
comprehensive documentation of these projects and
analyses of their strengths, weaknesses and other
lessons.


First, there have been efforts to increase the political
profile of and public investment in climate change
research, and special funding arrangements have been
established for climate change adaptation. The first
such project in China was announced in 2007 (Zhang,
et al., 2008). As part of this program, several provinces
have already begun to invest in technologies that will
promote more reliable rainfall, such as cloud seeding—
dispersing substances such as dry ice or silver iodide
into clouds to induce rain—in Sichuan and Tibet and
rainfall harvesting in Xinjiang. In Ningxia province,
the provincial Science and Technology Department
also plans to invest in improved climate forecasting.
The provincial Academy of Agricultural Sciences has
launched studies on agricultural adaptation, includ-
ing improved crop varieties and ecological migration.
As these projects were only recently initiated, their
effectiveness has not been assessed and documented.


Second, there has been increased experimentation
with different types of insurance policies. Since 2002,
agricultural insurance coverage in China has seen
rapid and sustained development as the government
has increased its investment in this industry. In 2007,
premium income and insurance payments both hit
record highs and were more than 400 percent higher
than the previous year.10 In some provinces, insurance
schemes have been provided by the government
(Zhang, et al., 2008); in others, the government has
encouraged mutual insurance associations. The China
Insurance Regulatory Commission has been studying
both the past and potential future impacts of climate
change on the insurance industry. In 2007, they issued
a notification to emphasize the need to account for
the effects of more frequent extreme meteorological
events and called for more innovations in insurance
products. In 2006, Zhejiang province launched
a pilot project that offers integrated agricultural
insurance. A government-subsidized program, the
insurance policies are offered and administered by a


non-commercial agricultural insurance company. The
basic premise is to provide insurance for household
losses, which will be in greater demand in a world
that suffers from more severe weather events.


5.3 Adaptive Responses—Farmers


In addition to government officials, farmers have an
incentive to implement adaptation strategies. In this
section, we review a few of the options farmers have
in responding to climate change.


Crop choice. Based on empirical analysis of 8,405
farmers in 28 provinces in China, Wang et al.
(2008b) showed
that across China,
farmers in warmer
places are more likely
to produce cotton,
wheat, oil crops and
maize and less likely
to grow rice, soy-
beans, vegetables,
potatoes and sugar.
These results indicate
that they are already
beginning to make
planting shifts according to local climatic conditions.
In wetter locations, farmers are more likely to plant
rice soybeans, oil crops, sugar, vegetables and cotton
and less likely to grow maize, potatoes and wheat.
Field studies in single provinces also find similar
behavior among farmers. Lin et al., (2008) indicates
that in Ningxia Province, farmers faced with drought
are inclined to choose a crop that is more adaptive,
multi-functional and high yielding, with better eco-
nomic returns under such conditions. Primary exam-
ples include maize, potatoes and sunflowers.


Irrigation. Wang et al. (2008b) documented that
farmers in locations with more rainfall are less likely
to irrigate. In part, this is because they are able to get
sufficient moisture without the expense of irrigation.
However, the analysis also suggests that the marginal
effects of climate change on irrigation choice depend


[Farmers] are already
beginning to make plant-
ing shifts according to local
climatic conditions. Farm-
ers faced with drought
are inclined to choose a
crop that is more adap-
tive, multi-functional and
high yielding, with better
economic returns under
such conditions.


10 China Insurance Regulatory Commission: http://www.fdic.gov/about/intlaffairs/presentations/SessionOne-ChinaInsuranceReg
ulatoryCommission.doc.




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on the distribution of seasonal rainfall and tempera-
ture. As a result, irrigation choice will vary from place
to place.


Increased investment in irrigation infrastructure.
Farmers, like the government, can invest in irriga-
tion facilities. This is especially easy to see in areas of
northern China that already face diminished access to
surface water for a variety of reasons—not necessarily
related to climate change. In these areas, farmers have
turned to use of groundwater to maintain or improve
productivity (Wang et al., 2009b). The share of land
in north China irrigated by groundwater increased
from less than 30 percent in the early 1970s to nearly
70 percent in 2004 (Wang et al., 2007). Over the
past three decades, individual farmers have become
the major investors in tubewells—water wells made
of a tube or pipe bored into an underground reser-
voir with an electric pump at the top to pull water for
irrigation. The share of individual tubewells increased
from less than 10 percent in the early 1980s to more
than 80 percent twenty years later. Researchers also
found that in dry land areas, farmers will invest in
rainwater harvesting facilities, such as water storage
tanks (Ju et al., 2008).


Adoption of water saving technologies. Based on
a field survey in six provinces in northern China,
Blanke et al. (2007) found that when faced with
increasing water shortages (which would be the case
in some areas after climate change), farmers will adopt


water saving technologies. According to survey data,
by 2004 at least 42 percent of villages (compared to
less than 10 percent
of villages in the early
1980s) were using a
number of different
types of household-
based water saving
technologies such
as plastic sheet-
ing, drought resist-
ant varieties, retaining stubble/employing low-till
methods, and surface level plastic irrigation pipe.


Adopting new crop varieties to reduce weather-
related risk. Faced with climate change and the
prospect of increasing water scarcity, farmers have
already shown a willingness to plant crop varieties
with better resilience to adverse weather. The 2007
GEF/SCCF project report of Hebei, observed that
farmers in Cang County in Hebei province selected
drought-resistance crop varieties (including new
varieties for wheat, cotton and maize) in response
to decreased water availability. In addition, farmers
planted productive and disease-resistant varieties
(mainly for wheat) in some parts of Jiangsu Province.
In Henan Province, certain winter wheat varieties
were selected following a higher frequency of warm
winters. Current development of heat tolerant and
pest-resistant wheat varieties is at least in part a
response to the early effects of climate change.


Faced with climate change
and the prospect of increas-
ing water scarcity, farmers
have already shown a will-
ingness to plant crop varie-
ties with better resilience to
adverse weather.




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A number of different sources provide data on
China’s emission of greenhouse gases. The Climate
Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) from the World
Resources Institute provides data on China’s GHG
emissions from 2005. Total emissions were 7,234.3
million tons of CO2 equivalent (tCO2e); 5,592.4
million tons were from CO2, 853.3 million tCO2e
were from CH4, and 684.1 million tCO2e were
from N2O.


Chinese researchers have provided their own esti-
mates for China’s emissions in 2004 and report that
total GHG emissions were about 6,100 million
tCO2e (5,600 million tons of net emissions). Of this
total, 5,050 million tons were from CO2; 720 million
tCO2e were from CH4; and 330 million tCO2e was
from N2O (PRC, 2007). From 1994 to 2004, the
annual average growth rate of GHG emissions was
around 4 percent. During this same time period, the
share of CO2 in the total amount of GHG emissions
increased from 76 to 83 percent.


The most recent emission data officially recognized
by the Chinese government come from 1994 and
are contained in the Initial National Communication
on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China.
According to this report, total emissions in 1994
were 4,060 million tCO2e (3,650 million tons of
net emissions). Of this total, 3,070 million tons were
CO2, 730 million tCO2e were from CH4 and 260
million tCO2e were from N2O.11


Internationally, there is a debate on the actual amount
greenhouse gases being emitted in China. The
Netherlands Environmental Assessment agency was
the first organization to state that beginning in 2006,
Chinese carbon dioxide emissions, the main GHG,
exceeded those of the United States (Rosenthal,


2008). Leggett et al. (2008) also claimed that China
is now the largest emitter of GHG globally, reporting
that total GHG emissions in China reached 7,527
million tCO2e in 2005 compared to 7282 million
tCO2e in the U.S. However, due to limitation on
data and estimation approaches, Chinese officials
and experts do not agree with the above numbers
and do not think China has become the largest GHG
emission country (http://www.huanjingbaohu.com/
huanbao-4341-1-1.html).12 Within China, the
general agreement is that China is still the second
largest GHG emitter in the world. According to the
National Climate Change Program, in 2004, GHG
emissions in China totaled 6,100 tCO2e, which was
lower than the United States (estimated at nearly
7,000 tCO2e).


Regardless of the disagreement over the total contri-
bution of GHG emission from China, the per capita
GHG emissions in China are much lower than those
of the United States and many other industrialized
countries. For example, in 2004/2005, per capita
GHG emissions in China were only 4.6 metric tons
based on China’s data. Leggett et al. (2008), estimate
per capita GHG emissions in China at 5.7 metric
tons in 2005, about 24 percent of that in the US (25
metric tons per capita). That same year in Russia and
Japan, per capita GHG emissions reached 15 and 11
metric tons respectively. Furthermore, China’s emis-
sions per capita are also below the world average of
7 tons.


In addition, along with the steady social and economic
development, emissions intensity, defined as the CO2
emissions per unit of GDP, has been declining (PRC,
2007). According to the IEA, China’s emission inten-
sity fell to 2.76 kgCO2/US$ (constant 2000 U.S.
dollar) in 2004, as compared to 5.47 kgCO2/US$


6. GReenHoUSe GAS eMISSIonS AnD MItIGAtIon PoLICIeS
In tHe AGRICULtURAL SeCtoR


11 As reported by some officials, China has begun work on the Second National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic
of China through the updated GHG emission data. However, this second round of work has not been completed.


12 Regarding the estimation of GHG by country, the IEA report stated, “it is stressed that the uncertainty in the resulting dataset at the
national level may be substantial for both methane and nitrous oxide, and even more so for the F-gases. The uncertainty is caused
by the limited accuracy of international activity data used and in particular of emission factors selected for calculating emissions on a
country level.” IEA. Op. cit., p. III.12.




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in 1990, a 49.5 percent decrease. During the same
period, the emission intensity worldwide dropped
only 12.6 percent, and that of the OECD countries
dropped 16.1 percent.


6.1 emission from the Agricultural Sector


CAIT reports that GHG emissions from China’s
agricultural sector made up 15.4 percent of total
emissions in 2005. Nitrous oxide emissions from
agriculture accounted for 88.6 percent of all N2O
emissions, and agriculture’s methane emissions con-
stituted 59.4 percent of China’s total methane emis-
sions. Within the agriculture sector, 54.5 percent of
GHG emissions were from nitrous oxide and 45.5
percent were from methane. By comparison, the
Initial National Communication on Climate Change
indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from agricul-
tural sources constituted 17 percent of China’s total
greenhouse gas emissions in 1994. Nitrous oxide
emissions from agricultural sources accounted for
92.5 percent of China’s total nitrous oxide emissions,


and the methane
emission from agri-
cultural activities
amounted to 50.1
percent of China’s
total methane emis-
sions in the same
year (Table 5). To
show how China’s
agricultural sector


compares with other nations, Appendix Table 2
summarizes GHG emissions from agriculture as a
percentage of total emissions for selected countries
in 1995 and 2005.


Agricultural nitrous oxide emissions in China
mainly come from the application of fertilizer. In
1994, the total emission of nitrous oxide from the
application of fertilizer reached 628 thousand tCO2e
and accounted for 80 percent of total nitrous oxide
emissions in the agricultural sector (Table 5). Other
sources of nitrous oxide include pasture manage-
ment, the burning of excrement (livestock wastes)
and crop residues.


Agricultural emissions of methane mainly come from
the keeping of ruminant animals and the cultivation


of paddy fields. In 1994, the total emission of methane
from the ruminant animals reached 10,182 thou-
sand tCO2e, which
was 59.2 percent
of the total emis-
sions of methane in
China’s agricultural
sector (Table 6).
The second largest
methane emission
source, rice produc-
tion, accounted for
35.8 percent of agricultural methane emissions (or
6,147 tCO2e) in 1994.


6.2 Mitigation Policies in the Agricultural
Sector


China actively participates in worldwide efforts to
address climate change and has acknowledged its
interest in international cooperation in this regard.
For example, China’s leaders have endorsed the
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate
Change (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. In
June 2007, China’s government released China’s
National Plan for Coping with Climate Change
(NDRC, 2007). Beginning in 2010, the plan calls
for the implementation of policies and measures
concerning control of greenhouse gas emissions that
will begin to make substantive progress toward sig-
nificant results of reducing energy intensity per unit
of GDP by 20 percent compared with 1995 levels.
The national policy endorses efforts that enhance
China’s ability to adapt to climate change. There are
also specific provisions in the plan to support climate
change-related research. Following the Copenhagen
Accord, China submitted a Nationally Appropriate
Mitigation Action Plan (NAMA) to the UNFCCC
Secretariat. This letter does not reference the Accord
but does pledge that China will reduce GHG emis-
sion intensity 40-45 percent by 2020 compared with
the 2005 level and will increase forest coverage by 40
million hectares (Su, 2010).


Recent policy directives and the creation of new
institutions testify to the higher level of attention
devoted to climate change. As part of this effort,
the government issued a white paper titled “China’s
Policies and Actions for Addressing Climate Change”


Nitrous oxide emissions
from agriculture accounted
for 88.6 percent of all N2O
emissions, and agricul-
ture’s methane emissions
constituted 59.4 percent
of China’s total methane
emissions.


Agricultural nitrous oxide
emissions in China mainly
come from the application
of fertilizer. Agricultural
emissions of methane main-
ly come from the keeping of
ruminant animals and the
cultivation of paddy fields.




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(PRC, 2008). The paper’s mitigation plan, which
emphasizes energy conservation and improved effi-
ciency, focuses primarily on China’s industrial sector,


but the govern-
ment also recognizes
that all industries
have roles to play
in reducing emis-
sions. Furthermore,
the paper shows


that China believes international cooperation is
essential in addressing climate change and has indi-
cated a willingness to do its fair share. To provide
government leadership on this issue, the National
Leading Committee on Climate Change was estab-
lished, with Premier Wen Jiabao as chairman and
20 national ministries as members. The National
Development and Reform Commission (NDRC)
was asked to coordinate the new committee under
the leadership of Premier Wen Jiabao. According
to China’s National Climate Change Program, the
government is planning to take actions in several
dimensions to promote mitigation activities in the
agricultural sector.


Strengthen the establishment and implementation
of laws and regulations. The first step is for China
to implement a set of laws and basic regulations that
support climate mitigation measures, through two
primary means. First, the nation wants to gradually
improve its system of laws and regulations based
on existing regulations: the Law of Agriculture
of the People’s Republic of China, the Law of the
Grasslands of the People’s Republic of China, and


the Law on Land
Management of the
People’s Republic of
China. Once these
are amended, they
need to be har-
monized with the
associated admin-
istrative rules and
regulations. It is
thought that this is a


necessary step before agricultural land, pasture land
and forests can be used on a large scale for carbon
storage. Second, the government wants to create a
policy environment that promotes the protection of


farmland and pasture land and strictly controls any
redevelopment of land that is being used for carbon
storage or is part of a fragile ecosystem.


Intensify ecological agriculture in highly-intensive
production areas. The government is seeking to
promote ecological agriculture in a number of differ-
ent ways. First, it will begin implementing projects
to prevent and control agriculture non-point source
pollution and extend technologies concerning the
reasonable use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to
improve the farmland quality and reduce carbon emis-
sions. Second, agricultural officials are seeking ways
to implement a new round of soil fertility programs.
These programs are focused on teaching farmers how
to better manage fertilizer application and promote
the increased use of organic fertilizer as a means of
increasing soil fertility and reducing emissions of
nitrous oxide.


One example of government work in this area is
the Green for Grain Program. The program began
in 1999, and is one of the world’s most ambitious
conservation set-aside programs. From 1999 to
2006, the accumulated cultivated land that has
been shifted to forestry under this program was 24.3
million hectares, nearly 19 percent of total cultivated
land in China (NSBC, 2007). The marginal nature
and lower productivity of lands enrolled in the
program meant that total agricultural output experi-
enced only a modest decrease (Xu et al., 2006). The
main idea of this program is to retire land that has
the highest potential of contributing to soil erosion.
This program has improved the ecological environ-
ment and enhanced the region’s resilience to natural
disasters such as flooding and drought. Grain for
Green may also lead to increased productivity on
existing land by inducing additional investment and
intensification of production on land best suited for
growing crops (Xu et al., 2006).


Enhance the development and transfer of new tech-
nologies. The government believes it is important to
both develop new technologies and improve access to
the latest technological advancements. Accordingly,
they will support research that seeks to select and breed
rice varieties with high yields and low GHG emission
rates, such as semi-dry rice cultivation technology.
China’s Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST)


Recent policy directives and
the creation of new institu-
tions testify to the higher
level of attention devoted
to climate change.


The government wants to
create a policy environ-
ment that promotes the
protection of farmland and
pasture land and strictly
controls any redevelopment
of land that is being used
for carbon storage or is part
of a fragile ecosystem.




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and the Ministry of Water Resources are also funding
research on methods of irrigation that will reduce
emissions. There are also programs to develop micro-
organism technology to reduce methane emissions
from rice paddies and enhance/refine the technolo-
gies for household-type biogas digesters. Additionally,
agronomic technologies such as effective utilization


of crop residues are
being promoted.
China also knows
that there is a need to
develop and extend
key technologies that
will produce envi-
ronmentally sound
fertilizers that reduce


nitrous oxide emissions from cropland. Finally,
efforts are needed to develop and promote low- and
no-tillage technologies that can be used to increase
carbon storage in croplands.


6.3 Practical Mitigation Actions


Increasing fertilizer use efficiency. In China, fer-
tilizer use efficiency is low: fertilizer use for wheat
is 220 kg per ha in China, while the world average
level is only 127 kg per ha (IFA et al., 2002). Usage
for maize and paddy is also much higher than
world average levels. Due to overuse, a large share
of fertilizer cannot be absorbed by the crops that
are in the ground. Much of the nutrients are lost


to the environment.
Researchers show
that if farmers were
to apply the site spe-
cific nutrient man-
agement technology,
the use of fertilizer
could be cut about


20-30 percent (Peng et. al., 2006, Hu et. al., 2008;
Huang et. al., 2009). Huang et al., (2009) show that
farmers’ lack of knowledge on crop yield response
is a major reason for their overuse of fertilizer in
China. In addition, improving fertilizer efficiency
has an abatement potential of 40 megatons of CO2e
(McKinsey & Company, 2009). More importantly,
it is possible that this could come at a low or even
a negative cost. If the reduction in fertilizer did not
reduce yields, then it would be a win-win situation.


Considering the potential benefit of reducing ferti-
lizer use, the Ministry of Agriculture in 2005 began
promoting site-specific fertilizer use technology
through agricultural extension system aimed at cali-
brating fertilizer dosage according to soil character-
istics and type. If such technologies become more
widespread, fertilizer efficiency could be improved
by up to 5 percent without negatively impacting
crop output.


Changing from traditional to conservation
tillage. Conservation tillage (CT) has been high-
lighted in several studies as an important technique
to create carbon sinks (Lal et al. 1999; ECCP, 2003;
Barker et al. 2007). Despite the widespread adop-
tion of CT technology in other countries such as
the US, Canada and Brazil, adoption in China is
relatively low. Wang et al. (2009c) found that in the
mid-2000s, the adoption rates of the full CT tech-
nology package, which includes both no/reduced
tillage and residue retention together, was only
around 1 percent. Although the adoption of partial
CT technology (either no/reduced tillage or residue
retention) in China is higher and rising steadily, it is
not widespread enough to become a true technologi-
cal force. Since the early 2000s, the central govern-
ment has promoted the adoption of CT and estab-
lished demonstration pilot projects in more than
10 provinces. According to Wang et al. (2009c), if
the government decided the environmental benefits
were great enough, they might consider offering
a subsidy to those that adopt CT practices in the
future. In addition, policies are needed that nudge
farmers toward the technology, such as regulations
that ban residue burning. If there are initiatives to
extend CT technology, more farmers will likely
adopt these methods.


Extending intermittent irrigation and adopt-
ing new seed varieties for paddy fields. Emissions
from rice paddy fields are one of the major sources of
methane gas emissions in China. Research has dem-
onstrated that irrigation methods used and the vari-
eties that are planted are the two key determining
factors that influence the rate of methane emissions
from paddy fields (Dong et al., 2008). Studies have
found that compared with flood irrigation, adoption
of intermittent irrigation can reduce methane emis-
sions between 30 and 46 percent (Wang et al., 1998;


China also knows that
there is a need to develop
and extend key technologies
that will produce environ-
mentally sound fertilizers
that reduce nitrous oxide
emissions from cropland.


Researchers show that
if farmers were to apply
the site specific nutrient
management technology,
the use of fertilizer could
be cut about 20-30 percent




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Wang, 2001; Li et al., 1998). The Ministry of Water
Resources and the Ministry of Agriculture have
both supported the expansion of intermittent irriga-
tion over the past decade. In addition to irrigation
methods, adoption of certain seed varieties can sub-
stantially reduce methane emissions (Huang, 2006).
Other researchers have found that hybrid rice varie-
ties can reduce methane emissions 5 to 37 percent
compared with conventional varieties.




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7. ConCLUSIon


This report has reviewed and documented some
of the likely impacts of climate change on China’s
agricultural production, trade and farmer income.
It also has sought to provide insights into the adap-
tation and mitigation policies that China is promot-
ing. In summary, there are a number of generaliza-
tions that can be drawn.


Studies by natural scientists show that climate
change will have a significant impact on agriculture,
primarily through affecting crop yields. The extent
of the changes in yields highly depends on the crop
being considered and on assumptions related to the
CO2 fertilization effect. Across all scenarios ana-
lyzed, irrigated crops are generally expected to fare
better than rain-fed crops. When the CO2 fertiliza-
tion effect is considered, wheat yields increase the
most. In scenarios that do not include CO2 fertiliza-
tion, rain-fed maize and rice would see the greatest
declines, although yields for all crops would decrease.
In addition to impacts on crop yields, China’s crop-
ping system will experience moderate changes due
to climate change. Most studies predict that under
climate change, both the planting and harvesting
date of crops will shift because of warming tem-
peratures. As planting seasons will be lengthened,
more area will come under cultivation (mostly in
northern areas). In addition, land—especially in
the Yangtze River Basin—will be cultivated with
increasing intensity. While few studies are available
in the livestock sector, the existing literature shows
evidence of negative impacts of climate change on
livestock production.


Economic studies show that climate change will
affect not only agricultural production, but also
agricultural prices, trade and farmer income. The
economic research further indicates that market
response to the production shocks resulting from
climate change will lessen the impacts on agricul-
tural production predicted by natural scientists.
Agricultural production is projected to decrease
in China if the effects of CO2 fertilization are
not considered. When CO2 fertilization is taken
into account, the decline in rice production is less
severe, and wheat and maize production actually
increases. Prices increase without CO2 fertilization


in response to lower production levels, and con-
versely, price decrease when production increases
due to CO2 fertilization.


China’s trade in grains will in turn be affected by
changes in production and price levels. As prices
increase and production decreases in the scenar-
ios without the CO2 fertilization effect, Chinese
exports will decrease and imports will increase to
help stabilize domestic availability. In response to
the increased production and falling prices under
the CO2 fertilization scenarios, exports will increase
and imports will decrease. China’s self-sufficiency
in the crops considered here will not change sig-
nificantly under any of the scenarios: China will
remain a net exporter of rice and wheat (with the
exception of wheat under scenario S1) and remain
a net importer of maize. Analysis of the effects of
climate change on rural incomes indicates that
higher temperatures will decrease incomes but
more precipitation will increase incomes. Rain-fed
farmers are predicted to be more adversely affected
than irrigated farmers, and impacts on income also
vary widely by region and by season.


China’s government will have to make a great effort
in response to climate change. The government must
promote policies and invest funds in adaptation. In
addition, it must focus regulatory and legislative
efforts, as well as investment activities, on mitiga-
tion. Much has already been done—both in terms
of planning and implementation of responses. On
adaptation, the government strategy is threefold.
First it will seek to support the development of new
technologies and identify additional measures to
deal with future climate change. Second, the gov-
ernment needs to reform China’s extension system
to improve the access to knowledge by local people.
Third, the government needs to enhance institu-
tional awareness, capacity and cooperation.


Finally, we have shown that when given the right
incentives, farmers do adapt, but changes imple-
mented by farmers cannot fully offset the negative
impacts of climate change. Farmers choose crops
carefully and appropriately, help with investments
in irrigation when possible (and when needed), and




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adopt water saving technologies and low till tech-
nologies when the incentives are right. Working
with farmers by setting an enabling policy environ-
ment is the number one role of governments. The
government should ensure that it fulfills this func-
tion in the areas of climate change adaptation and
mitigation.




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Wang, J., J. Huang, S. Rozelle, Q. Huang and A. Blanke, 2007. Agriculture and Groundwater Development
in Northern China: Trends, Institutional Responses, and Policy Options, Water Policy, 9 (2007), No S1:
61–74.


Wang, Z, 2001. Methane Emissions in the Paddy Field in China, Science Publishing Press, Beijing: 216-219.


Wang, Z., Y. Xu and Z. Li, 1998. Emission and Control of Methane in the Paddy Field in China, Crop
Magazine, 3: 10-11.


World Resources Institute, 2010. Climate Analysis Indicators Tool (CAIT) version 7.0. Washington, DC.
Available at http://cait.wri.org.


Xiong, W., D. Conway, Y. Xu, J. H, S. Calsamiglia-Mendlewicz and L. Erda, 2008. The Impacts of Climate
Change on Chinese Agriculture – Phase II, National Level Study: The Impacts of Climate Change on
Cereal Production in China, Report to DEFRA (now DECC) and DFID, ED02264, Issue 2, October
2008.


Xu, Zhigang, Jintao Xu, Xiangzheng Deng, Jikun Huang, Emi Uchida and Scott Rozelle, 2006. Grain for Green
versus Grain: Conflict between Food Security and Conservation Set-Aside in China, World Development
34(1): 130-148.


Zhang, J., G. Wang, 2007. Impact Research of Climate Change on Hydrology and Water Resources, Science
Publishing House, Beijing.


Zhang, L., R. Luo, H. Yi and Stephen Tyler, 2008. Climate Adaptation in Asia: Knowledge Gaps and Research
Issues in China, Final Report to IDRC and DFID, Digiscan Pre-press, Kathmandu, Nepal.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation


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ICTSD - IPC


tABLeS AnD FIGUReS


Table 1: Impacts of climate change on crop yields under various climate scenarios


Scenarios
Rice Maize Wheat


Rain-fed Irrigated Rain-fed Irrigated Rain-fed Irrigated


A2 With CO2
fertilization


2020s 2.1 3.2 9.8 -0.6 15.4 13.3


2050s 3.4 6.2 18.4 -2.2 20.0 25.1


2080s 4.3 7.8 20.3 -2.8 23.6 40.3


No CO2
fertilization


2020s -12.9 -8.9 -10.3 -5.3 -18.5 -5.6


2050s -13.6 -12.4 -22.8 -11.9 -20.4 -6.7


2080s -28.6 -16.8 -36.4 -14.4 -21.7 -8.9


B2 With CO2
fertilization


2020s 0.2 -0.4 1.1 -0.1 4.5 11


2050s -0.9 -1.2 8.5 -1.3 6.6 14.2


2080s -2.5 -4.9 10.4 -2.2 12.7 25.5


No CO2
fertilization


2020s -5.3 -1.1 -11.3 0.2 -10.2 -0.5


2050s -8.5 -4.3 -14.5 -0.4 -11.4 -2.2


2080s -15.7 -12.4 -26.9 -3.8 -12.9 -8.4


SOURCES: Xiong, et al., 2008.


NOTE: 1) A2: a very heterogeneous world with continuously increasing global population and regionally oriented economic growth that is more
fragmented and slower than in other storylines;


2) B2: a prosperous and fair world which, as a result of a general orientation towards sustainable development, features relatively low
GHG emissions.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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ICTSD - IPC


Table 2: The impacts of climate change under the a2 scenario on production and prices of three major
crops in China under different scenarios (relative to 2030 reference scenario)




Without CO2 Fertilzation effect Without CO2 Fertilzation effect


Only climate change
in China


Climate change
in both China and the


rest of the world


Only climate change
in China


Climate change
in both China and the


rest of the world


S1 S2 S3 S4


Impacts on Production


In Thousand Tons


Rice -6158 -4889 -4889 -115


Wheat -4620 -3667 5436 5963


Maize -12669 -880 5135 5135


In Percentage (%)


Rice -5.6 -4.5 -0.1 -0.3


Wheat -5.0 -4.0 5.9 6.5


Maize -5.1 -3.6 2.1 2.7


Impacts on Prices (%)


Rice 14.4 17.6 -1.6 -2.0


Wheat 12.5 15.9 -11.7 -11.4


Maize 6.9 10.9 -3.6 -3.4


SOURCES: Wang, et al., 2009a.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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ICTSD - IPC


Table 3: The impact of climate change under the a2 scenario on exports, imports and self-sufficiency of
three major grains in China under different scenarios (relative to 2030 reference scenario) (thousand tons)




Without Considering
CO2 Fertilzation effect


Considering
CO2 Fertilzation effect


Only climate
change in China


Climate change
in both China and the


rest of the world


Only climate
change in China


Climate change
in both China and the


rest of the world


S1 S2 S3 S4


Impacts on exports and imports


Exports


Rice -1949 -116 301 -127


Wheat -847 -111 826 1363


Maize -394 -174 227 339


Imports


Rice 185 59 -13 0


Wheat 959 101 -601 -794


Maize 9742 4811 -3725 -5298


Impacts on self-sufficiency (%)


Rice -2.0 0.0 0.3 -0.1


Wheat -2.0 -0.2 1.5 2.2


Maize -3.9 -2.0 1.6 2.2


SOURCES: Wang, et al., 2009a.


NOTE: in 2007, China exported 1.36 million tons of rice, 3.07 million tons of wheat, and 4.92 million tons of maize. In the same year, China also
imported rice (0.49 million tons), wheat(101 thousand tons), and maize (35 thousand tons).




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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Table 4: Marginal impacts of climate change on crop net revenue


all Farms Irrigated Farms Rain-fed Farms


Temperature (USD/ha/C)


Spring -230** -49* -143**


Summer 76* 286 -15***


Fall -29 -458* -68*


Winter 173** 288** 130**


annual -10* 68* -95**


annual elasticity -0.09* 0.62* -0.88**


Precipitation (USD/ha/mm/mo)


Spring -19** -22* -6


Summer -2 11* -5*


Fall -1* -21** -4*


Winter 36** 59* 38**


annual 15* 27* 23*


annual elasticity 0.80* 1.48* 1.24*


SOURCE: Wang et al., 2008.
* denotes significant at 10%, ** denotes significant at 5% level
Yuan converted to 2006 USD using exchange rate of 8 Yuan/USD. We wanted to allow easy comparison of marginal impacts with studies in other countries.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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Table 5: Nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from agricultural activities in China in 1994


emission Sources emission
Volume


(1000 tCO2e)


Percentage of Total
N2O emissions in


agricultural Sector (%)


Percentage of
Total N2O emission


in China (%)


Fertilizer use 628 79.8 55.8


Pasture 110 14.0 12.9


Burning livestock
waste


1 0.1 0.1


Management system
of animal waste


44 5.6 5.2


Burning crop residues 4 0.5 0.5


Total 786 100 92.5


SOURCE: Initial National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China


Table 6: Methane (CH4) emissions from agricultural activities in China in 1994


emission Sources emission
Volume
(1000 t)


Percentage of Total
CH4 emissions in


agricultural Sector (%)


Percentage of
Total CH4 emission


in China (%)


Ruminant animals 10182 59.2 29.7


Paddy field emissions 6147 35.8 17.9


Management system
of animal waste


867 5.0 2.5


Total in agricultural
sector


17196 100 50.2


SOURCE: Initial National Communication on Climate Change of the People’s Republic of China




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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ICTSD - IPC


FIgURe 1: Marginal Temperature effect, Irrigated Farms


FIgURe 2: Marginal Temperature effect, Rain-fed Farms




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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ICTSD - IPC


aPPeNDIx Table 1: agricultural production, trade, prices and self-sufficiency in China in 2006 and
2030 under reference scenario


Rice Wheat Maize


2006 (Base Year)


Production (million tons) 127.9 105.1 147.8


Price (yuan/kg) 3.01 2.52 2.22


Export (million tons) 1.10 1.73 5.55


Import (million tons) 0.58 1.42 0.03


Self-sufficiency (%) 101 100 104


2030 (Reference Scenario)


Production (million tons) 109.5 92.1 246.8


Price (yuan/kg) 2.08 2.01 1.92


Export (million tons) 4.7 2.6 2.9


Import (million tons) 0.2 2.1 23.4


Self-sufficiency (%) 104 101 92


DATA SOURCES: Simulated by CAPSiM model by authors.




Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector:
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aPPeNDIx Table 2: agricultural sector greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural sector in
selected countries (percentage of total emissions)


1995 2005


Australia 21.8 19.7


Brazil 58.5 58.4


China 21.8 15.4


European Union 10.5 10.0


India 25.7 21.6


New Zealand 54.1 48.1


United States 6.8 6.4


World 17.0 16.1


SOURCE: CAIT v 7.0, World Resources Institute 2010.




About the Platform


In 2008 the International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council (IPC) and the International Centre for Trade and Sustainable
Development (ICTSD) launched The ICTSD-IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade. This interdisciplinary
platform of climate change, agricultural and trade experts seeks to promote increased policy coherence to ensure effective climate
change mitigation and adaptation, food security and a more open and equitable global food system. Publications include:


International Climate Change Negotiations and Agriculture. •
Policy Brief No. 1, May 2009


Greenhouse Gas Reduction Policies and Agriculture: Implications for Production Incentives and International Trade Disciplines. •
Issue Brief No. 1, by D. Blandford and T. Josling, August 2009


Climate Change and Developing Country Agriculture: An Overview of Expected Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation •
Challenges and Funding Requirements.
Issue Brief No. 2 by J. Keane, S. Page, A. Kergna, and J. Kennan, December 2009


Carbon Concerns: How Standards and Labelling Initiatives Must Not Limit Agricultural Trade from Developing Countries •
Issue Brief No. 3, by J. MacGregor, May 2010


The Role of International Trade in Climate Change Adaptation. •
Issue Brief No. 4, by G. Nelson, A. Palazzo, C. Ringler, T. Susler, and M. Batka, December 2009


Climate Change and China’s Agricultural Sector: An Overview of Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation. •
Issue Brief No. 5 by J. Wang, J. Huang, and S. Rozelle, May 2010


Agricultural Technologies for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation in Developing Countries: Policy Options for •
Innovation and Technology Diffusion.
Issue Brief No. 6 by T. Lybbert and D. Sumner, May 2010


About the Organizations


The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development was established in Geneva in September 1996 to contribute to a
better understanding of development and environment concerns in the context of international trade. As an independent nonprofit and
non-governmental organization, ICTSD engages a broad range of actors in ongoing dialogue about trade and sustainable development.
With a wide network of governmental, non-governmental and inter-governmental partners, ICTSD plays a unique systemic role
as a provider of original, non-partisan reporting and facilitation services at the intersection of international trade and sustainable
development. More information is available at www.ictsd.org.


The International Food & Agricultural Trade Policy Council promotes a more open and equitable global food system by pursuing
pragmatic trade and development policies in food and agriculture to meet the world’s growing needs. IPC convenes influential policy
makers, agribusiness executives, farm leaders, and academics from developed and developing countries to clarify complex issues, build
consensus, and advocate policies to decision-makers. More information on the organization and its membership can be found on our
website: www.agritrade.org.




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