New York Times: the farming forecast calls for change

The New York Times has published a piece by Bruce Campbell, on the failure of the UN Climate Talks to properly address issues of agriculture and food security. Bruce, who is director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) writes:

Another round of international negotiations on climate change wrapped up in Doha, Qatar, last week without a major consensus on emissions. [...] Strikingly, though, there was a lack of consensus on addressing agricultural adaptation. Efforts to implement a formal program that addresses the dire problem of food security ended without agreement and the issue was punted to June for additional discussion.

But outside of diplomatic circles, a different consensus is forming — one that does not rely on negotiations. People are noticing that climate change has already taken hold. [...] Many governments are not waiting for an international consensus before taking action.

Countries are already taking action by implementing large scale initiatives that help farmers in a changing climate. CCAFS presented these solutions in Doha, along with a report detailing each of the case studies.

Read the full story: The Farming Forecast Calls for Change – New York Times, December 12 2012

Read more: The large-scale implementation of adaptation and mitigation actions in the agriculture and food sector

Summary of Outcomes: Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day

Experts, practitioners, civil society, researchers and others gathered to discuss issues related to food security, climate change and rural development on 3 December at ALL-5 Day. The fifth edition of the event offered a mix of policy discussions, ‘Big Ideas’, and networking opportunities.

Discussions early in the day among the approximately 400 participants on site and 700 real-time online viewers looked at the progress made to date and the challenges ahead in terms of solutions, gaps and priorities for achieving food security in the face of climate change. While the global food supply and the livelihoods of millions of farmers depend on a sustainable agriculture system, climate change is gravely threatening both. The urgent need for more foresight was stressed, highlighting the critical impacts on food security, the environment and livelihoods of climate change. Yet, agriculture is significantly under-represented in the UNFCCC, with no dedicated work programme for agriculture as of yet.

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Don’t count your GHG emissions before they hatch

Get the Big Facts on GHG emissions from the food production system by Neil Palmer

Every once in a while you hear a stat that’s potentially a game-changer.

And if I’m perfectly honest, I really wasn’t expecting it during Roundtable Discussion Seven, “Achieving Emissions Reductions: new tools, technologies and practices across the agro-food chain,” at Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5.Get the Big Facts on GHG emissions from the food production system

The aim of the session was to showcase some of the new ways of calculating the greenhouse gas emissions in various food production systems, in order to make the most effective interventions.

And that’s when one of the panelists and presenters, Simon Aumônier, of UK firm Environmental Resources Management, stepped up to the podium.

Simon has been doing a lot of work on the greenhouse gas hotspots of a range of food products over the course of their life cycles. That means he tries to establish which part of the journey from seed to plate results in the most GHG emissions.

So I was surprised when he explained that in the UK,  a full life cycle analysis revealed that the kind of egg with the lowest carbon footprint was in fact… free range.

Read the full story: Greenhouse gas hotspots, boiling points, and thinking outside the…egg carton – CCAFS Blog

Neil Palmer is a Public Awareness officer at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). He reported live from Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5 on 3 December in Doha, Qatar.

I say adaptation you say mitigation: finding the right words

Get the Big Facts on links between adaptation and Cecilia Schubert

As part of Meine van Noordwijk’s quest to get people engaged in both adaptation and mitigation activities the word “mitigadaptation” came into play.

Get the Big Facts on links between adaptation and mitigation.

Created during a brainstorming session in Kenya, it didn’t take long before people soon realized that “miti” in Kiswahli also means trees. Need less to say, the word got good reviews when introduced, simply because it makes sense to people in Kenya. The word in one go implies that adaptation and mitigation are two sides of the same coin. And important when building a sustainable landscape. More importantly, people could relate and envision the practices because of the chosen wording that is linked to the local language.

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Insurance can help farmers face climate risks

by Olive Thiong’o

“What is visible on the ground is that farmers are already adapted somewhat. But we need them to remain robust, even when challenges hit them,” stressed Arame Tall, researcher with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Arame was speaking at the round table session Dialogue on Scaling Up Risk Management for Food Security and Agriculture held during Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day (ALL5).

What emerged from the discussions is that when it comes to climate risk management index-based insurance is no silver bullet, in spite of its popularity. But instead risk management requires a combination of approaches. Integration of risk management with social protection; setting up regional or multi-country risk pools where possible; distributing risks and rewards across the value chain; and using a participatory dialogue process to include all actors, are other plausible options to upscale risk management.

Read the full story: Climate insurance only part of the risk-reduction puzzle – CCAFS blog

Olive Thiong’o is a communications officer with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) in East Africa. She reported live from Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5 on 3 December in Doha, Qatar.

Mitigation and adaptation: a perfect marriage made on farms

by Daisy Ouya

To feed a burgeoning global population, agricultural production has to more than double in the coming four decades, and it must do so within the expected climate-change-related stresses. Can this growth in production happen in a way that keeps greenhouse gas emissions (carbon dioxide, methane and others) to a minimum? And can it at the same time help farmers adapt to worsening climates? Continue reading

Serious about dealing with climate change? Then think agriculture

by Rachel Friedman

“No agriculture, no deal” was the mantra coming out the fifth Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods (ALL, formerly Agriculture and Rural Development) Day on Monday. Yet it appears as though the Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) will not make any sort of recommendation regarding agriculture to the UNFCCC at COP18, due to difficulties in reaching consensus. And while according to Mahmoud Sohl (ICARDA), one of the speakers on the high level panel at ALL Day, “if they don’t put agriculture on the agenda, then they are not serious” about dealing with climate change, clearly participants at this year’s ALL Day felt strongly that agriculture needed to be part of the solution to climate change. Continue reading

Climate funds for farmers just one piece of the puzzle

by Rachel Friedman

Funding is always a prominent topic of discussion, and often a sensitive issue at such international gatherings as the UNFCCC COP18. Commitments made by member countries usually have some financial strings attached, and the question is largely ‘who will pay, how much, and for what?’ At Agriculture, Landscapes, and Livelihoods Day (ALL) the issue surfaced continuously over the course of the day – more money for technology transfer; more for neglected areas of research (climate impacts on pollination, pests, and disease); more for farmers. To manage overlapping objectives related to food security and nutrition, development, environment, and climate, there was undeniable agreement that increased and more efficient funding is necessary. Continue reading

Dryland farming can be green, even as climate changes

by Bruce Campbell

Despite many practical innovations, progress on getting agriculture into the official climate change negotiations has been excruciatingly slow, much slower than the urgent need to achieve food security.

The UN Climate talks currently ongoing in Doha raise the question of how to achieve food security in the drylands, where droughts are frequent and environmental and soil degradation is widespread. Farmers in these areas already face enormous challenges. Climate change will only compound these problems, bringing new levels of uncertainty and risk. Continue reading

Agriculture sidelined at Doha climate talks

by Anette Engelund Friis

With regard to agriculture, negotiators at the United Nations climate talks in Doha this week seem only able to agree on one thing: that agriculture is both a victim and a culprit of climate change.

This is despite the fact that there is growing consensus within the agricultural community itself on the next best steps on how agriculture can be incorporated more fundamentally can be incorporated in post-Kyoto policy development around climate change. Continue reading