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Climate change adaptation cost and residual damage to global crop production

Toshichika Iizumi*, Zhihong Shen, Jun Furuya, Tatsuji Koizumi, Gen Furuhashi, Wonsik Kim, Motoki Nishimori

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Adaptation will be essential in many sectors, including agriculture, as a certain level of warming is anticipated even after substantial climate mitigation. However, global adaptation costs and adaptation limits in agriculture are understudied. Here, we estimate the global adaptation cost and residual damage (climate change impacts after adaptation) for maize, rice, wheat and soybean using a global gridded crop model and empirical production cost models. Producers require additional expenditures under climate change to produce the same crop yields that would be achieved without climate change, and this difference is defined as the adaptation cost. On a decadal mean basis, the undiscounted global cost of climate change (adaptation cost plus residual damage) for the crops would increase with warming from 63 billion USD ($B) at 1.5 °C to 80 $B at 2 °C and to 128 $B at 3 °C per year. The adaptation cost gradually increases in absolute terms, but the share decreases from 84% of the cost of climate change (53 $B) at 1.5 °C to 76% (61 $B) at 2 °C and to 61% (78 $B) at 3 °C. The residual damage increases from 16% (10 $B) at 1.5 °C to 24% (19 $B) at 2 °C and to 39% (50 $B) at 3 °C. Once maintaining yields becomes difficult due to the biological limits of crops or decreased profitability, producers can no longer bear adaptation costs, and residual damages increase. Our estimates offer a basis to identify the gap between global adaptation needs and the funds available for adaptation.