New research overturned the belief that increased CO2 global emissions had short-term benefits on plant growth.
Instead, it suggested that climate change had an overall negative effect on agriculture.
These new findings by researchers from the University of California Davis, as well as Purdue University, were published in the journal, Nature Communications. Lead author, Frances Moore, an assistant professor in the UC Davis Department of Environmental Science and Policy, said that over recent decades, it was found that hot temperatures negatively affected crop yields.
Research also showed that for every additional ton of CO2 emitted, the global economy lost between US$3,50 (R50) and US$8,50 (R120) due to its effects on agriculture, rather than gaining the US$2,70 (R37) previously estimated.
Researchers analysed more than 1 000 published estimates of how crop yields from wheat, rice, maize and soya bean, responded to changing climate conditions. They found that higher temperatures had a negative effect on yields of all crops in almost all locations.
A temperature increase of 2°C resulted in average yield losses of 11% for maize and 26% for wheat, only partially offset by the benefits of higher CO2 concentration, leading to net yield losses from climate change.
A temperature increase of 2°C would thus result in economic losses of about 3% of the current value of the agricultural sector in sub-Saharan Africa and China, 2% in the US, 11% in Central America, 9% in the Middle East, and 2% in Western Europe.
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