The economic impacts of a 2*CO2 greenhouse scenario on the agricultural sector within Manitoba
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Increased concentrations of gasses such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and chloroflorocarbons (CFCs), amongst others, in the atmosphere have led some scientists to propose that a warming of the earth's climate may be occurring. This effect is commonly referred to as the Greenhouse effect. This will have an impact on agricultural practices which are sensitive to factors such as temperature and precipitation. The province of Manitoba is very reliant upon agriculture and agricultural related industries for revenue creation and employment and therefore it is important for farmers, policy makers and Manitobans in general to improve their knowledge of the potential impacts of climatic warming in order that they can plan for the future more effectively. The study has four objectives: i) To estimate how yields of existing crops will change in response to an altered climate, ii) to suggest new enterprises which could be introduced as a result of the climate change, iii) to evaluate the potential economic consequences of climate change for the agricultural sector in Manitoba, iv) to consider new cropping pattern that may occur as a result of climate change. These objectives were achieved using models and procedures to estimate future yields, which were then incorporated into a simple linear programming model from which the economic impacts and changes in cropping patterns were obtained. Results show beneficial effects in terms of gross margins achieved by the crop sector in Manitoba as a result of greenhouse warming. An increased growing season accompanied by an increase in heat units received throughout the province facilitated expanded production of some existing crops, for example soybeans, sunflowers and corn, to commercial levels; as well as the introduction of crops totally new to production such as sorghum and potentially winter wheat, in addition to an expansion of agricultural practices further north. Several conclusions can be drawn from the findings of this study. It would appear that greenhouse warming will be beneficial to the agricultural sector in Manitoba. New cropping patterns could be introduced, changing the relative profitability of different areas of the province, and agriculture extend further north.