agriculture and the economy

Agriculture plays an important in Australia’s economy. In fact, Agriculture contributes around 2% of our gross domestic product (GDP) and employs around 308,000 people*1. Australia’s agriculture industry is projected to be one of the most adversely affected from climate change. The projections for Australia’s climate make it clear that farmers and other Australian should be prepared for a hotter drier future. Changes in temperature, rainfall and extreme events will be affected water availability, water and soil quality, fire risk, and the incidence of pests, weds and disease. The frequency and severity of drought is expected to increase. Climate models suggest that drought could be as much as 20% more common by 2030 over much of Australia and up to 80% more common in south-western Australia by 2070*2. When we consider that the cost to the Australian economy from the 2020-2003 drought was an estimated $6.6 billion the economic impacts of climate change begin to look very significant.

*1 Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics

*2 Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency

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2 Responses to agriculture and the economy

  1. John Welch says:

    Katie,
    If we have more sunshine, and corresponding more energy from the sun, won’t plants be able to grow faster and bigger so long as they can get the water they need efficiently. Lets get our scientists to use a bit of GM on our native plants and maybe global warming could turbocharge agriculture.

    • hi john,

      thanks for your comment…. my blog is very unpopular and generally never receives any such attention. haha.

      the real problem with agriculture in australia will be water resouces. while other continents will see increasing rain with their warming climates, australia is likely to see increasing drought. unless GM scientists can manipluate crops and grasses for cattle which grow in zero water conditions (in the last drought many farmers did not receive any rainfall for 3 whole years) then i can’t see how climate change could possibly bring improved outcomes for agriculture under the scenario you mention above.

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