How climate change changes Europe and Central Asia

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A brief review on the consequences of climate change for agricultural output.

Climate change is believed to be one of the global problems. For some time past the extreme weather events have become more intense and frequent all over the world. Europe experiences more lenghty heat waves, more severe river flooding in northern parts and river flow droughts in southern regions. Sea level rise in the next several decades may dramatically affect large densely populated agglomerations (such as Amsterdam, London, Rotterdam). But how climate change will influence European and Central Asian agricultural areas? Are there any threats to regional food security? Let us see what researchers say about it.

In 2014 NASA specialists Rosenzweig et al. conducted the intercomparison analysis of multiple global gridded crop models to identify the response of crops to climate change, and to better understand risks and opportunities in regard to food production and food security. On the picture below one can see the impact of climate change on crop productivity. Yellow to red areas correspond with yield changes up to -50%. Blue areas reflect yield increase by up to +50% according to authors’ model projections. It is apparent that European and Central Asian region is expected to benefit from the climate change (the only exception is maize, which yields may fall in Southern regions of Europe).

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Another line of research models forecasts an increase in the growing season for European countries (Trnka et al., 2011). Eastern Europe and Central Asia are expected to see large gains in the frost-free period suitable for crop growth (Ramankutty et al., 2002). At the same time, one should take into account the other end of the spectrum. For example, warming increases the likelihood of heat stress during the critical reproductive period, which can lead to sterility, lower yields, and the risk of complete crop failure (Teixeira et al., 2012). Higher temperature and atmospheric CO2 may favor the growth and survival of many pests and diseases specific to agricultural crops (Ziska et al., 2011).

Lobell et al. (2011) conducted a global-scale study, which estimated the climate change impacts for a 29-year period. Warming trends were estimated to have lowered wheat and maize yields by 6% and 4%, respectively. Their model suggests that soybean and rice yields will be relatively unaffected by changes. However, they discover that climate change and higher CO2 will increase crops yield in a number of geographic areas. They argue that in the near term the warming will slow down the global yield growth by about 1.5% per decade while CO2 increases will raise yields by approximately the same amount. This balance is broadly consistent with the global picture emerging from many studies and major assessments. Such a balance is expected to hold at least until 2050s. After that CO2 benefits may taper off and climate effects may be larger. The researchers argue that even in the most pessimistic scenarios, it is highly unlikely that climate change would result in a net decline in global yields (Lobell and Gourdji, 2012). At the same time until 2050 technological and agronomic improvements will continue to be main drivers of the growth rates in aggregate crop productivity, as it was before.

Thus the climate change is expected to benefit agricultural output of Europe and Central Asia, which will balance the global net yields. However, Nelson et al. (2014) argue that with a negative productivity effect from climate change, prices will increase and trigger more intensive management practices and area expansion.

Pavel Kiparisov

Continue reading “How climate change changes Europe and Central Asia”

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Commission vs Gazprom from the perspective of recent energy cases II

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Part II: Gazprom Case.

This is a continuation of a previous post. The foregoing post reviews recent cases initiated by the European Commission that were aimed to reform European energy sector. In this post, I describe the investigation of the case of Gazprom and discuss possible outcomes and consequences for both parties.

General information about the company

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Gazprom is a world largest extractor of natural gas (14% of global output) and is one of the world largest companies (TOP 10 in Oil & Gas Industry according to Forbes). Company’s headcount is over 390 thousand employees. In 2011, Gazprom produced 8% of Russian Gross Domestic Product, while the Russian government controls more than half of all company’s shares. Gazprom controls the largest part of natural gas production in Russia. It produced 75 % of total Russian production of 600 bcm. Total exports have been constant during 2000s, estimating around 200 bcm/a, 60 % of which went to non-CIS countries in 2013. The Russian Energy Strategy 2030, adopted by the Russian Government Decree in 2009, forecasts a further increase in production of natural gas (up to 1000 bcm), its domestic consumption (650 bcm) and exports (350 bcm) (Energy Strategy of Russia 2030). In 2014 Gazprom managed to have 29,7% of market share of the European Union. Gazprom managers forecast a further increase of Gazprom’s market share in the EU (Gazprom strategy, 2015).

Instituting the investigation

The European Commission initiated the case under 39816 “Upstream gas supplies in Central and Eastern Europe”. So what were the claims of the European Commission?

Continue reading “Commission vs Gazprom from the perspective of recent energy cases II”

Commission vs Gazprom from the perspective of recent energy cases I

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Part I: The review of settled energy cases.

The European Commission initiated a number of energy cases within the scope of its policy of energy market liberalization and provision of competition. The idea of this post is to give an overview of some of the recent energy cases initiated by the European Commission and compare them to a Gazprom case. I do not intend to go deep into the analysis, this post is just a general review that covers six energy cases and discusses possible outcomes for Gazprom.

I divided my initial paper into two parts. The first part reviews settled energy cases. The second part describes Gazprom case and compares it to the previous cases. This is the first part of my study. Continue reading “Commission vs Gazprom from the perspective of recent energy cases I”

Why men and women dislike the same movies

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Detecting homophily in the network of movie reviewers.

Web-based social networks are rapidly growing every day. This motivates researchers to study various aspects of their functioning. In this post, I will discuss the results of my project regarding the network of movie reviewers’ analysis. I studied the network of the reviewers who voted at MovieLens website in 1997-1998. MovieLens is a system that recommends movies to watch. KinoPoisk is a Russian analogue (it would be fantastic if they one day published their data). Another famous movie recommender is IMDb.

In my project, I aim to find whether the network of movie reviewers exhibits homophily or not in terms of voters’ negative rates. In other words, I do a search for ties within and between the groups of people and try to identify to what degree they are similar when voting for movies (do not be afraid of the word homophily, it is a cornerstone of my research, I will describe it later).

This research answers such questions as:

  • Do women dislike the same movies? What about men?
  • Do programmers hate the same movies? What about students, educators and administrators?
  • Do people under 17 years old tend to put similar negative rates? Do people over 40 do the same?
  • And if not… why?

So this time I will be an objectionable guy who focuses only on negative things 😀 Continue reading “Why men and women dislike the same movies”

Report at the conference

Preliminary results reported in Moscow

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The preliminary results of my research regarding the allocation of Logistics Centres in Russia were reported  at the X International Student, Graduate and Postgraduate Research Conference on “Contemporary Problems and Trends in Logistics and Supply Chain Management Development” organised by School of Logistics at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow. Continue reading “Report at the conference”

Reversed causality can be lots of fun

What if performance of professional swimmers affected country’s wealth?

We believe that economics research is not only intellectually stimulating but fascinating as well. We made this short video as a funny supplement to the term project in professor Békés’ Data Analysis class at the Central European University.

In our term project we aimed at finding a relationship between the economic indicators and the number of medals that countries won in FINA World Swimming Championship in 2013. We identified several significant predictors, such as Current GDP, Population and Land Area. Thus, the bigger and richer the country the more medals it is expected to win (pretty straightforward, isn’t it?). What is interesting is that GDP per capita is not important for winning medals. In addition based on existent models in literature, we checked Population under 15 year-old, Health Expenditures (both total and per capita) and Life Expectancy. As it turned out, there were no relationships between these indicators and the number of medals countries won.

The idea of this video occurred to me when I imagined what it would be if in our model there was a reversed causality. What if the number of medals actually influenced the volume of GDP and the future of the countries’ prosperity would be in hands of few brave swimmers? 🙂