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Stehfest E.,PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | Berg M.,PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency | Woltjer G.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | Msangi S.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Westhoek H.,PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2013

Global livestock production accounts for about 80% of global land use, is one of the main drivers of biodiversity loss, and is responsible for about 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These impacts are likely to become more pressing as a consequence of rising demands for meat, eggs and dairy products. Theoretically, these impacts could be reduced by making the global food system more efficient or by dietary changes, as recent studies suggest. However, multiple feedbacks exist in the agricultural system, which may reduce the effectiveness of any promising change. Estimation of these effects is highly uncertain and depends on the tools applied. In this study, we used two different economic models (IMPACT and LEITAP), coupled to the integrated assessment model IMAGE, to examine different options to reduce the environmental impact of agriculture: dietary changes (less meat and dairy), increased production efficiency, and reduced food waste. In a detailed model comparison, we assessed the model results on consumption, agricultural production, commodity prices, land-use change and greenhouse gas emissions, and identified feedbacks in the global agricultural system. In both models, all options resulted in a reduction in agricultural land use and greenhouse gas emissions, as well as in agricultural commodity prices. The model results show that for most options less than the theoretical environmental gains would actually be achieved, due to price feedbacks leading to increased consumption and less intensive production. On the other hand, larger than expected effects could occur as a result of reduced European consumption.However, large differences were found between the IMPACT and LEITAP model calculations. We attribute these differences to model design and parameterisation, discuss implications and sketch ways forward to improve studies of future dynamics in the global agricultural system. The most pertinent discrepancies between the model results were related to the models' implementation of international trade, determining to what extent current trade patterns are retained, the assumptions on technological change, which have major implications for future price developments, and the treatment of agricultural expansion, which strongly affects how agricultural land use reacts under certain policy options. To our knowledge, this is the first attempt to compare different economic models in a consistent scenario study, and the results indicate the need for model improvements and show that data harmonisation and more extensive model comparisons are needed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.

Pokrivcak J.,Slovak University of Agriculture | van Berkum S.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | Drgova L.,Slovak University of Agriculture | Mraz M.,Slovak University of Agriculture | Ciaian P.,European Commission
Post-Communist Economies | Year: 2013

This article investigates Russian non-tariff measures (NTMs) on dairy products and their implications for EU dairy exports. Based on survey results, numerous and detailed Russian standards on imported dairy products are considered by respondents as redundant and unnecessary from a food safety perspective. Conformity assessment procedures are identified as a major problem when exporting to Russia. They are non-transparent, time-consuming and expose exporters to significant risk that their products may be refused entry at the Russian border. Audits by Russian inspectors seem to be subject to arbitrary rules and exporting companies face great uncertainty because of unclear and often changing rules. Both fixed and variable costs may increase due to Russian non-tariff measures, adding an estimated 5-10% of export value to costs. The gravity model estimates indicate that, after controlling for other variables, non-tariff measures are more restrictive on US exports to Russia than on EU exports to Russia, while New Zealand's exports to Russia are least affected by NTMs. Overall, the estimates do not confirm that Russia's NTMs are significantly more restrictive than is the case with other countries' NTMs. Although Russian standards for dairy imports are inhibiting trade they are not more restrictive than those implemented by other countries. © 2013 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

Simons S.L.,Johann Heinrich Von Thunen Institute | Simons S.L.,University of Hamburg | Bartelings H.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | Hamon K.G.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | And 3 more authors.
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2014

There is growing interest in bioeconomic models as tools for understanding pathways of fishery behaviour in order to assess the impact of alternative policies on natural resources. A model system is presented that combines stochastic age-structured population dynamics with complex fisheries economics. Explicitly, the economic response of fleet segments to changes in stock development is analysed by applying observed values and stochastic recruitment. The optimization of net profits determines the fishing effort and the investment and disinvestment behaviour of fleet segments, which, in turn, affect the level of catch rates and discards. This tool was applied to the North Sea saithe fishery, where ICES re-evaluated the existing EU - Norway management plan, focusing on biological reference points only. Two scenarios were tested with alternative harvest control rules and then contrasted with one unregulated scenario with no quotas and driven by optimizing the net profit of the whole fleet. The model showed the success of both harvest control rules in rebuilding the stock and the associated costs to the fleets in terms of maximal 21% reduction in net profits, 21% reduction in crew wages and 11% reduction in fleet size in the midterm (2007-2015). In the long term (2022), successful stock recovery coincided with net profits almost equalling that of the unrestricted fishery. The model is highly sensitive to the parameter values but can be used strategically, providing a qualitative understanding of the anticipated relative changes. © International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2014. All rights reserved.

Kuhlman T.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | Reinhard S.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute | Gaaff A.,LEI Agricultural Economics Research Institute
Land Use Policy | Year: 2010

Economics is about problems of choice. In erosion control, both public authorities and private land users are faced with such problems. What is the impact of erosion, both on-site and off-site, and to what extent can this impact be quantified? If we conceptualize this impact in terms of sustainability, how can we compare one type of effect against another? The former question can be answered only by natural scientists, the latter by economists and other social scientists. Weighing different aspects of sustainability requires value judgments, and economists are sometimes accused of having a jaundiced view of reality, wrongly supposing that decisions are based on rationality and denying the importance of emotion. However, let us assume that there is some mileage to be gained out of attempting to estimate the cost of erosion in an economic sense-which consists of converting the various effects into a common denominator: euros. If we can predict the impact of erosion control measures on erosion rates, we can know the benefit of these measures. The cost also needs to be calculated, not in terms of money but in terms of resources expended (which could have been used for other purposes) and in terms of possible negative impacts of erosion control (for instance, increased use of herbicides in reduced-tillage systems). There are important other considerations which economists may study. Firstly, there is the comparison of present versus future costs and benefits: how much can we sacrifice today for higher sustainability tomorrow? Secondly, there is the issue of private versus public costs and benefits: how do the goals of private land users differ from (those of?) the public good, how can this help us to predict land users' behaviour, and what incentives would be appropriate to make them behave in such a way as to maximize the public good? Thirdly, how do we deal with uncertainty and risk? These problems loomed large in a study to support an extended impact assessment for the EU Soil Thematic Strategy, in 2005. Whereas much research has been done on erosion and its impact, much of this is on a small scale. The extent of the problem on a national, let alone a continental or a global scale, is still poorly known. The paper discusses how these problems were faced, which is not the same as saying they were resolved. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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