Feb 10, 2012
Agriculture key to climate change mitigation and adaptation solutionsBack
Agriculture|DURBAN|SECURITY|Africa|Environment|Industrial|Security|Systems|Africa|Niger|Qatar|COP|Security|Food Security|Security|Solutions|Systems|Environmental|Bob Scholes|Security
© Reuse this
Members of the contributing team are drawn from 12 countries and it includes South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research systems ecologist, Dr Bob Scholes.
They are critical of the separate mitigation and adaptation discussions being held under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), saying these separate discussions are obscuring opportunities for a sector such as agriculture, which can deliver both mitigation and adaptation benefits.
Nations agreed to adopt a framework for sectoral actions, including agriculture, by March 5, at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17), in Durban. “It is not the adoption of a formal work programme on agri- culture that many wanted,” the report states.
Agriculture exacerbates climate change when greenhouse gases (GHGs) are released as a result of land clearing, inappropriate fertiliser use and other practices, the writers assert. However, alternative agricultural practices, tailored to different regions, show promise for reducing the net GHG emissions and maintaining or improving yields, despite extreme weather. This can reduce the threats to food security posed by climate change and aid in mitigation efforts.
“In Niger, five-million hectares has been regenerated by using agroforestry, which has benefited more than 1.25-million households, sequestered carbon and produced an extra 500 000 t of grain a year,” the group writes.
Actions agreed in Durban come from the conference’s mitigation track, which has led to concerns that the focus on agricultural adapta- tion to climate change, a priority for developing countries, will be reduced, the scientists state.
The writers urge scientists to lay the groundwork for more decisive action on global food security in the context of international environment discussions in 2012, including at COP 18, in Qatar.
“There are significant opportunities for scientists to provide the evidence required to rapidly generate new investments and policies, which will ensure that agriculture can adapt to the impact of climate change – and in ways that mitigate production of GHG emissions,” says Scholes.
Meanwhile, the world is already outside a safe operating space for agriculture, climate change and food security, he adds.
“To mobilise increased investment, scientists must document ways that farmers, industry, consumers and government can move toward, expand or shift the safe space and achieve multiple benefits from sustainable farming practices,” the scientists write in Science.
“More integrated research and improved knowledge systems on what works in different regions, farming systems and landscapes are needed, especially in the most vulnerable socioecological systems,” they state.
For example, scientists can help with identifying robust opportunities for investing in agricultural adaptation and mitigation with financing now available through the Adaptation Fund of the Kyoto Protocol, the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism and the Green Climate Fund, which has earmarked $100-billion for developing countries, says Scholes.
They can also assist in ensuring the inclusion of agriculture in national action plans for climate change adaptation and mitigation that are being developed under the auspices of the UNFCCC, he adds.
Another contribution from the field of science would be the development of new information systems.
“To help countries evaluate potential mechanisms for agricultural adaptation and mitigation, geographically explicit estimates of risks and benefits are needed that better describe and manage trade-offs and synergies among the biophysical and human dimensions of systems affected by agriculture and emissions from agriculture,” Scholes says.
Further, the impending collision between the imperatives of food security and environmental sustainability will largely play out in Africa – the location of much of the future growth in food demand, and one of the few places on earth with underused agricultural potential and which is highly vulnerable to global climate change, he notes.
Edited by: Martin Zhuwakinyu© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
Other Environment News
Recent Research Reports
Defence 2014: A review of South Africa's defence industry (PDF Report)
Creamer Media’s Defence 2014 report examines South Africa’s defence industry, with particular focus on the key participants in the sector, the innovations that have come out of the sector, local and export demand, South Africa’s controversial multibillion-rand...
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
This Week's Magazine
The broad-based black economic-empowerment (BBBEE) alignment process in the con-struction sector has begun, dur-ing which the sector codes of the Construction Sector Charter Council (CSCC) will be aligned with the revised Codes of Good Practice (CoGP), which come...
It is second time lucky for Toby Venter. Ten years ago he negotiated to buy the Kyalami racetrack, but “the deal did not materialise”.
Environmental solutions company I-Cat started construction work on its R22-million, 1 949 m2 environmentally sustainable office and warehouse facility, commissioned by I-CAT Environmental Solutions, at a launch event in October. The new sustainable I-CAT campus,...
Effective file synchronisation and sharing across an organisation’s structures can provide the basis for robust mobile-device and document management while maintaining proper backup, version control and content distribution. These are the lessons learned by complex...
Hotel group Carlson Rezidor currently holds the largest hotel pipeline in Africa with 30 hotels and 6 300 rooms under development. The hotel group develops and operates Radisson Blu in the upper upscale segment and Park Inn by Radisson in the mid-market segment. With...