The Effect of Climate and Technological Uncertainty in Crop Yields on the Optimal Path of Global Land Use

61 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Yongyang Cai

Yongyang Cai

Ohio State University (OSU); Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP)

Jevgenijs Steinbuks

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG)

Joshua Elliott

University of Chicago; Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP)

Thomas W. Hertel

Purdue University - Center for Global Trade Analysis; Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP)

Date Written: August 1, 2014

Abstract

The pattern of global land use has important implications for the world's food and timber supplies, bioenergy, biodiversity and other eco-system services. However, the productivity of this resource is critically dependent on the world's climate, as well as investments in, and dissemination of improved technology. This creates massive uncertainty about future land use requirements which compound the challenge faced by individual investors and governments seeking to make long term, sometimes irreversible investments in land conversion and land use. This study assesses how uncertainties associated with underlying biophysical processes and technological change in agriculture affect the optimal profile of land use over the next century, taking into account the potential irreversibility in these decisions. A novel dynamic stochastic model of global land use is developed, in which the societal objective function being maximized places value on food production, liquid fuels (including bio-fuels), timber production, and biodiversity. While the uncertainty in food crop yields has anticipated impact, the resulting expansion of crop lands and decline in forest lands is relatively small.

Keywords: Climate Change and Health, Forests and Forestry, Global Environment, Climate Change and Agriculture, Climate Change and Environment, Coastal and Marine Resources, Science of Climate Change, Forestry, Energy and Natural Resources

Suggested Citation

Cai, Yongyang and Steinbuks, Jevgenijs and Elliott, Joshua and Hertel, Thomas W., The Effect of Climate and Technological Uncertainty in Crop Yields on the Optimal Path of Global Land Use (August 1, 2014). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 7009, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2483543

Yongyang Cai (Contact Author)

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Department of Agricultural, Environmental
and Development Economics
Columbus, OH 43210
United States

Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP) ( email )

5735 S. Ellis Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Jevgenijs Steinbuks

World Bank - Development Research Group (DECRG) ( email )

1818 H. Street, N.W.
MSN3-311
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Joshua Elliott

University of Chicago ( email )

1101 East 58th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP) ( email )

5735 S. Ellis Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Thomas W. Hertel

Purdue University - Center for Global Trade Analysis ( email )

Department of Agricultural Economics
1145 Krannert Building
West Lafayette, IN 47907-1145
United States
765-494-4199 (Phone)
765-494-9176 (Fax)

Center for Robust Decisionmaking on Climate & Energy Policy (RDCEP) ( email )

5735 S. Ellis Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

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