Appl. Econ. Persp. Pol. (2014)


Climate change and international trade policies are negotiated separately but can influence each other. Trade liberalization in the agricultural sector, for example, could impact the success of climate mitigation efforts, but little is known about how these policies interact.

David Blandford of Pennsylvania State University, USA, and colleagues analysed the interconnection between climate and agricultural trade policies in Norway — a country with a heavily protected agricultural sector. They found that a decrease in policies to protect farmers to roughly half of 2008 levels would lead to only a small reduction in Norwegian agricultural production, with no changes in production methods, and therefore with a limited effect on reducing agricultural greenhouse-gas emissions. As a result, more stringent liberalization measures would be required to support mitigation. Alternatively, a carbon tax in the agricultural sector would limit emissions by reducing agricultural output. In absence of credits from carbon sequestration, the tax would favour a more extensive use of land with lower use of fertilizers and pesticides (extensification of production). If, instead, credits from carbon sequestration were available, a carbon tax would lead to production intensification.