Sunday April 12, 2015

Climate change bad, but could be good for Canadian agriculture

Listen 7:23

Climate change is bad, but until we are able to stop it, Vikram Mansharamani says Canada should try to look at the ways it could be good for Western agricultural producers. 

Mansharamani, a lecturer with Yale's Program on Ethics, Politics & Economics, and Senior Fellow at Harvard, stresses that governments should not let up on on efforts to fight climate change. However, he says until the day significant strides are made in combating global warming, we should also plan for the changes that climate change could bring. He says that includes the possibility that Canada's Prairie provinces could become one of the world's most prosperous producers and exporters of food.

Mansharamani says that even a one degree increase in global temperature will translate into a ten percent decline in global crop yield. But that decline won't be spread evenly, and Canada is one of the regions that could actually see an increase in crop production.

'The productivity of Iowa, Nebraska, and South Dakota in the United States, that land is the most fertile in the world. That band of ideal climate will slide north in global warming. That will eventually give Canada higher productivity from the land...the growing season will be longer. You may even be able to get multiple rounds of crops over the course of the year.' - Vikram Mansharamani​

Mansharamani cites the example of the canola industry, which is currently worth some $20 billion to the economy. He notes that even a 10% yield increase would translate into billions.