Hydro-economic modeling of climate change impacts in Ethiopia

Gene Jiing-Yun You, Claudia Ringler
ifpri discussion paper

Ethiopia is susceptible to frequent climate extremes such as disastrous droughts and floods. These disastrous climatic events, which have caused significant adverse effects on the country's economy and society, are expected to become more pronounced in the future under climate change. To identify the potential threat of climate change to the Ethiopian economy, this study analyzes three major factors that are changing under global warming: water availability under higher temperatures and changing precipitation patterns, the impact of changing precipitation patterns on flooding, and the potential impact on crop production of the carbon dioxide (CO2) fertilization effect. These issues are analyzed based on an existing multi-market-sector model for the Ethiopian economy, with a focus on agriculture. Our analysis finds that the major impact of climate change on Ethiopia's economy will result from more frequent occurrence of extreme hydrologic events, which cause losses in both the agricultural and nonagricultural sectors. To adapt to these long-term changes, Ethiopia should invest in enhanced water control to expand irrigation and improve flood protection.