The impact of climate change on the Australian sugarcane industry

Martina K. Linnenluecke, Clara Zhou, Tom Smith, Nicole Thompson, Natalie Nucifora

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

This study assesses the impact of climate change on changes in sugarcane output for Australia's main sugarcane-growing regions, using a dataset for the years 1964–2012. We test for accelerated effects of climate change post-1995 (the midpoint in our testing period), as well as for possible non-linear impacts of climate change that are related to the geographical location of sugarcane plantations. Our findings show that increases in atmospheric carbon concentration have had a significant negative impact on sugarcane output after 1995, which contrasts with an earlier positive effect before 1995. Peak temperatures also had a larger impact on sugarcane output after 1995. For areas south of the tropical line and from 1995 onwards, an extra kilometer of distance from the tropical line corresponds to an increase of 1 million tons in sugarcane output growth. Our study tests for additional variables (irrigation, sugarcane diseases, fertilizer use, and dominant sugarcane variety planted) with results remaining similar. We conclude by discussing implications for policymakers and future research, in particular, the importance of factoring in regional differences and non-linear effects into adaptation planning across agricultural regions.

LanguageEnglish
Article number118974
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume246
Early online date23 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Oct 2019

Fingerprint

Climate change
climate change
industry
Industry
Fertilizers
Irrigation
plantation
fertilizer
irrigation
Planning
Carbon
carbon
Testing
effect
temperature
Temperature
test
agricultural planning

Keywords

  • Climate change
  • Sugarcane production
  • Geographical location
  • Non-linear effects
  • Adaptation

Cite this

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The impact of climate change on the Australian sugarcane industry. / Linnenluecke, Martina K.; Zhou, Clara; Smith, Tom; Thompson, Nicole; Nucifora, Natalie.

In: Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 246, 118974, 10.02.2020.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

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AB - This study assesses the impact of climate change on changes in sugarcane output for Australia's main sugarcane-growing regions, using a dataset for the years 1964–2012. We test for accelerated effects of climate change post-1995 (the midpoint in our testing period), as well as for possible non-linear impacts of climate change that are related to the geographical location of sugarcane plantations. Our findings show that increases in atmospheric carbon concentration have had a significant negative impact on sugarcane output after 1995, which contrasts with an earlier positive effect before 1995. Peak temperatures also had a larger impact on sugarcane output after 1995. For areas south of the tropical line and from 1995 onwards, an extra kilometer of distance from the tropical line corresponds to an increase of 1 million tons in sugarcane output growth. Our study tests for additional variables (irrigation, sugarcane diseases, fertilizer use, and dominant sugarcane variety planted) with results remaining similar. We conclude by discussing implications for policymakers and future research, in particular, the importance of factoring in regional differences and non-linear effects into adaptation planning across agricultural regions.

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