Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Taking a break from routine in Sydney

I am taking a brief respite in Sydney for a few days. I am presenting my paper 'Some Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change' (based on this and this) in the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department at the University of Sydney on Friday 22nd August from 3-00 to 5-00 pm in the R.D. Watt Building. Readers can contact the Department if they wish to attend. I can be contacted via this Department.

I have been thinking generally about climate change adaptation issues and have started to get involved in some urban issues and, more directly than in the past, on issues in agriculture. Melbourne has a fascinating early climate change adaptation proposal that focuses on reversing 'heat island' effects, recycling stormwater (Melbourne faces dramatic water shortages) as well as policies for handling sea level change. The proposals for agriculture involving recognising the good aspects of climate change - the gains should come prior to 2050 before carbon concentrations really start to bite - and accounting for the net costs that will occur thereafter. Many of the agricultural adaptations will develop endogenously as farmers respond myopically to market forces and do not call for policy action. Others such as R&D and urging uptake of new technologies require a policy push as do any sought-after structural assistance programs.

On water the proposals of Young and McColl make a great deal of sense to me. The difficulty of managing water resources is reduced to a measurement problem with the environment and agriculture taking fixed proportions of what is available after basic flows in systems such as the Murray-Darling are guaranteed.

More on these things when I return - I am drafting a paper on these issues at present.

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