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Publication Date
1 May 2014

Economic and Physical Modeling of Land Use in GCAM 3.0 and an Application to Agricultural Productivity, Land and Terrestrial Carbon



The release of the Global Change Assessment Model (GCAM) version 3.0 represents a major revision in the treatment of agriculture and land-use activities in a model of long-term, global human and physical Earth systems. GCAM 3.0 incorporates greater spatial and temporal resolution compared to GCAM 2.0. In this paper, we document the methods embodied in the new release, describe the motivation for the changes, compare GCAM 3.0 methods to those of other long-term, global agriculture-economy models and apply GCAM 3.0 to explore the impact of changes in agricultural crop yields on global land use and terrestrial carbon. In the absence of continued crop yield improvements throughout the century, not only are cumulative carbon emissions a major source of CO2 emissions to the atmosphere, but bioenergy production remains trivial — land is needed for food. In contrast, the high crop yield improvement scenario cuts terrestrial carbon emissions dramatically and facilitates both food and energy production.


Wise, Marshall, Kate Calivin, Page Kyle, Patrick Luckow, and Jae Edmonds. 2014. “Economic And Physical Modeling Of Land Use In Gcam 3.0 And An Application To Agricultural Productivity, Land And Terrestrial Carbon”. Climate Change Economics 5. doi:10.1142/S2010007814500031.
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