Policy for climate change adaptation in agriculture

A number of Australian governments have established or planned programs to assist farmers in adapting to climate change. This paper considers a potential range of policy responses that may be appropriate for climate change adaptation in agriculture. It discusses the extent to which different policy responses may be justified on the basis of market-failure and the likelihood of positive net benefits. While research and extension have the potential to generate significant benefits, there is a need to carefully consider their rationales and emphases. Given the characteristics of climate change (slow, highly uncertain, small relative to climate variability, spatially heterogeneous), the value of information from research and extension to guide farmers’ decision making about adaptation is likely to be low for decisions about farming practices and land uses. Such information would be more valuable for decisions that are larger and indivisible, such as land purchase or the decision to exit from agriculture. Policy options that appear likely to generate relatively large benefits are technology development, quarantine/eradication/containment of pests and weeds, and water market reform. This assessment is not consistent with the emphasis of existing government programs.

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 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

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