Agricultural technologies for climate change mitigation and adaptation in developing countries: Policy options for innovation and technology diffusion
Climate has obvious and direct effects on agricultural production. Greenhouse gas (GHG) implications of agriculture are also obvious and large. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has reported that agriculture is responsible for over a quarter of total global greenhouse gas emissions. Given that agriculture’s share in global gross domestic product (GDP) is about 4 percent, these figures suggest that agriculture is highly GHG intensive. This paper describes the potential role innovative agricultural practices and technologies can play in climate change mitigation and adaptation and aims to address the question: what policy and institutional changes are needed to encourage the innovation and diffusion of these practices and technologies to developing countries? We focus on developing countries in general with some specific references to Africa.
This paper begins with a brief background on the relationship between agriculture and climate change. In Section 3, the paper describes several technologies that may be useful to climate change adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. Keeping in mind these technologies – which are intended to be an illustrative rather than comprehensive set – Section 4 explores a variety of important considerations to their development, transfer and use. These considerations, which include both constraints and potential remedies, set the stage for our discussion in Section 5 of policy principles and priorities that could facilitate climate change mitigation and adaptation in poor countries by improving the innovation and diffusion of important agricultural technologies. The final section summarizes the paper and frames the discussion in a broader context of economic development in an era of greater complexity and greater urgency due to climate change.