10/13/2015

Global Alliance on Climate Smart Agriculture: Solution or Mirage?

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photo credit: flickr user WorldFish

Author: Rashmi Mistry

In Paris later this year, global leaders will meet at the Conference of Parties to thrash out a deal to reduce dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and to find a solution to the pressing financial needs of billions of people, smallholder women farmers among them, on the frontline in the fight to adapt to climate change.

One of the solutions put forward to address these challenges is the concept of ‘climate smart agriculture’ – but what is it? And should we be worried?

Recognition of the importance of agriculture and climate change is on the rise

Industrial agriculture is one of the major causes of climate change. Around 25 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions globally derive from the food system, including from methane from livestock production, deforestation to clear land for agriculture and nitrogen from fertilizer use.

Climate change is also creating havoc in many of the world’s farming systems, and endangers the progress made in the last few years to ensure the right to food for millions of people. Slow, insidious changes in global temperatures and shifting weather patterns, as well as increasing intensity and frequency of extreme weather events are disrupting production and distribution systems.

As a result – there is an increasing interest from both companies and policymakers in finding and promoting forms of agricultural production which can reduce emissions, as well as ways in way agriculture can adapt to changing conditions.

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