News / Africa

Scientists: Agriculture Major Player in Climate Change

India could eventually lose more than 5 percent of its growing season as a result of climate change. Here, an Indian woman cuts crops in Burha Mayong on May 26, 2011. Scientists say agriculture must be "front and center" in climate negotiations.
India could eventually lose more than 5 percent of its growing season as a result of climate change. Here, an Indian woman cuts crops in Burha Mayong on May 26, 2011. Scientists say agriculture must be "front and center" in climate negotiations.
Joe DeCapua

A team of scientists is urging that agriculture be a top priority in climate change negotiations, saying it’s vital for global food security and for reducing carbon emissions. The recommendations appear in the January 20th issue of Science magazine.

The international team was led by Sir John Beddington, Britain’s chief scientific advisor. The article, What Next for Agriculture After Durban, follows the latest U.N. climate conference in December. It says negotiations there made “incremental progress” in helping farmers adapt to climate change while reducing agriculture’s contribution to global warming.

“Well, agriculture is important, period, because of the imperative of food security. And we’re falling short there in significant ways that have come to our attention, especially recently with the significant price shocks,” said Professor Molly Jahn of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, co-author of the Science article.

International prices have remained high since the food crisis of 2007/2008.

Agriculture is a major emitter of greenhouse gases. But Jahn said it also offers opportunities to lessen their effects with known and proven farming practices.

“So it represents both an activity that’s essential for our survival -- an activity that is threatened by climate change, especially in vulnerable parts of the world. And an opportunity to better manage meeting our needs while we reduce the emissions of various greenhouse gases that are accumulating in the atmosphere,” she said.

Faster response needed

The Science magazine article says the “integration of agriculture in the climate change negotiating process has moved at a slow pace.” However, it says at the same time climate change, forces affecting food security, and population growth have been moving “much faster.”

The scientists hope to influence policymakers.

Jahn said, “It was important for this team to get together precisely because so much work has been done. There’s so much information about opportunities and options, as well as threats. So this body was convened to carefully, objectively review that vast amount of information and synthesize clear policy relevant recommendations.”

Those recommendations include putting agriculture front and center in policy considerations.

“While we are transitioning to climate-smart agriculture, we need to assure that the world’s most vulnerable people will be considered in any policy strategies,” she said.

Another recommendation is to reduce the vast amount of food that’s lost, wasted or spoiled along the food chain – and to choose crops that place less stress on the environment.

“Given current knowledge, there’s a great deal we can do within current budgets and within current economic structures that will bring us forward to a better place with respect to agricultural practices in the developing and the developed world,” said Jahn.

Playing a bigger role

The magazine article calls on scientists to “assume a more prominent role” by ensuring clear data is available for climate change negotiations. It says that data can help spur investment in agriculture.

Professor Jahn warns “the window of opportunity to avert a humanitarian, environmental and climate crisis is rapidly closing.” She adds urgent action is needed.

Agriculture’s role in climate change is expected to be discussed in June at Rio+20. The meeting in Brazil marks the 20th anniversary of the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. It’s commonly known as The Earth Summit.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid