Climate change impacts on agricultural trade

Feb 15, 2021

A recent briefing published by the European Environment Agency (EEA) provides an analysis on the impacts of climate change on agricultural trade.

The analysis presented in the briefing, combines information on global climate change impacts on agricultural production with information on the EU’s import profile and evidence on the vulnerability of the products’ countries of origin to climate change.

Agriculture is considered one of the socio-economic sectors most sensitive to climate change, dependent on soil characteristics, weather patterns and biodiversity. The physical drivers of climate change produce direct and indirect impacts on production systems (e.g., water availability, soil and cultivation zones) what results in socio-economic impacts (farmer livelihoods, abundance of food supply and dietary habits).

The impacts of climate change in one region can spill over to another through a range of mechanisms, including trade, infrastructure, human mobility, geopolitical risks and finance.

The growing knowledge and recognition of the indirect impacts of climate change calls for more integration of transboundary aspects into EU and national adaptation policies. Trade diversification, through either establishing trade relations with more countries producing the same commodity or diversifying the import portfolio, can reduce the risk of supply disruptions to some extent.