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Feeding billions in the face of climate change

As drought dries the landscape and rising global temperatures make for decreasing crop yields, farmers are faced with the question of how to feed billions of people in a way that both reduces global greenhouse gas emissions and adapts to the realities of climate change.

Scientists and policymakers from around the world will gather today through Friday, March 20-22, at the University of California, Davis, to grapple with the threats of climate change for global agriculture and recommend science-based actions to slow its effects while meeting the world's need for food, livelihood and sustainability.

The Climate-Smart Agriculture Global Science Conference, planned in coordination with the World Bank, builds on a 2011 international meeting on this theme in the Netherlands.

"Climate change, which brings severe weather events and more subtle but equally menacing temperature changes, presents unprecedented challenges to the global community," said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.

"In California, where we rely heavily on snowmelt for irrigation to grow half of our nation's fruit and vegetables, we are acutely aware that scientists and policymakers must join forces to lessen the potential effects of climate change," she said.

Katehi will open the conference on Wednesday, March 20, along with Thomas Vilsack, secretary of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (via video). The public is invited to attend the opening day’s program (8:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m), free of charge; and the closing day’s afternoon program (noon-3:45 p.m.), also  free of charge. These will be held in Jackson Hall of the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. (Lunches not included.)

Catherine Woteki, USDA undersecretary, will speak Thursday evening, March 21.

Other speakers will include: Ben Santer, climate researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and a member of the National Academy of Sciences; Joseph Alcamo, chief scientist for the United Nations Environmental Program; and Patrick Caron, general director for research and strategy of the French Agricultural Research Center for International Development. Also speaking will be outstanding scientists from dozens of universities and research institutes from around the world.

Conference topics will focus on the implications of cutting-edge agricultural, ecological and environmental research for improved design of policies and actions affecting agricultural management and development; identifying farm and food-system issues, determining research gaps; highlighting emerging research initiatives; and developing transformative policies and institutions.

The conference will conclude with participants developing and endorsing a declaration regarding the key research and policy messages that result from conference presentations and discussions. This declaration is expected to point toward science-based policies and actions for global agriculture that will mitigate climate change and encourage adaptation to maintain food security, livelihoods and biodiversity.


Posted on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 at 6:45 AM


Seeds of Death: Unveiling the Lies of GMOs:

Posted by Jim Bob on March 21, 2013 at 12:45 PM

I'm stunned that a scientific community seems content to leave the fate of the world (i.e. the fate of the world food supply) up to a cross-your-fingers-and-hope-for-good- weather type of situation.  
We're hardly ambling about the savannah in family groups anymore. We're quite capable of applying scientific AND industrial principles to the problem and save the world. In this era of global warming and chaotic climate clearly it's time to GET FARMING OUT OF THE DIRT and into the twenty-first century.  
We have hydroponics/aeroponics . . . with properly engineered indoor structures we can grow far more food on a far smaller area of land than present day dirt farming can. We can use a tiny, tiny fraction of the water that we presently use in dirt farming. We can eliminate pesticides and conventional fertilizers. Why would we need genetically modified organisms? We would need only a tiny fraction of the energy to far grow more food than we presently must consume with dirt farming.  
With properly engineered indoor structures we can control the water, we can control the light, we can control the 'weather' -- we can grow year 'round.  
Yes, it would take an enormous collaborative effort between engineers, architects, and agriculturists -- not to mention enormous initial investments of money . . . but once things got going, we would save far, far more than just money.

Posted by David White on March 22, 2013 at 5:20 PM

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