It’s impossible to address climate issues without including agriculture—and vice versa. Our global food supply and the livelihoods of millions of farmers depend on a sustainable agriculture system, yet changing climate is gravely threatening both. Specific actions on how agriculture can adapt to our changed climate are needed.
Thousands of government representatives, international organizations and civil society members are currently gathered in Doha for the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP18). This has created an opportunity for CGIAR Consortium to urge policy makers to focus their discussions on a combined consideration of agriculture, forestry and land use, and their impacts on society. With many partners, CGIAR Consortium members organized two events during COP18. Experts who took part in Forest Day called for a broadened approach to tackle climate change and deforestation – challenging the ongoing debate that forests have to be sacrificed for the sake of rural development and food security. Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day aimed to identify scalable solutions, gaps and trade-offs in addressing climate change impacts for agriculture, the environment and farmers.
But what are the key facts about agriculture and climate change?
To help define the big issues the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) has scoured the vast body of literature for the latest research and identified the best and most current scientific knowledge at the intersection of agriculture, climate change and food security.
The result is “Big Facts”, a set of need-to-know facts that represents the latest and most authoritative research on topics ranging from undernourishment and dietary changes to agricultural mitigation practices and climate finance. Here are some:
“Agriculture makes the greatest contribution to total food system emissions. It contributes 7,300 to 12,700 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) per year—about 80 to 86 percent of food systems emissions and 14 to 24 percent of total global emissions.”
“Integrated climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies ensure food security and reduce agriculture’s ecological footprint. Adaptation is a priority for smallholder farmers, who will pursue mitigation when it brings benefits without increasing cost and risk.”
For more information
Updates from COP18 (the CCAFS blog)
COP18, forests, agriculture, landscapes and livelihoods (cgiar.org)
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
Photo credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT