Micro-Climate Engineering for Climate Change Adaptation in Agriculture

Can farmers adapt to climate change by altering weather conditions on their fields? We define the concept of "Micro-Climate Engineering" (MCE), where farmers change the effective temperatures on their crops by means of shading or heating, and document such implementation by California pistachio growers. With rising winter temperatures and declining winter chill portions, pistachio growers in California could face adverse climatic conditions within 20 years. Treating dormant trees with a chemical mix, acting as a shading technology, has shown to increase winter chill count to acceptable levels. Modeling a market with heterogeneous sub-climates, we run simulations to estimate potential gains from MCE in the year 2030 for California pistachio. Our results show an expected yearly welfare gain ranging between $1-4 billion. However, heterogeneous baseline climate creates clear winners and losers from this technology. Applying the concept of MCE more broadly, we point to its potential benefits in general as an adaptation technique, while also noting its potential for widening the global gap in climate change damage incidence, depending on heterogeneity in baseline climates, economic conditions, and market power. Acknowledgement :

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Conference Paper/ Presentation
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JEL Codes:
Q54; Q11

 Record created 2018-10-02, last modified 2020-10-28

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