Role of agriculture in the future of climate change policy

Following on from the Climate deliberations at Poznan, Keith Jones of CropLife International examines the contribution of agriculture to climate change mitigation and need to achieve better collaboration among all food chain participants to achieve ever more sustainable productivity.

While agriculture accounts for 13% of carbon emissions today, it also has the potential to directly counteract the effects of carbon emissions elsewhere.

Firstly, by improving yields, agriculture can prevent further incursion into precious rainforests and other areas which act as critical carbon sinks.

Secondly, by adopting conservation agriculture - using modern, targeted herbicide treatment sand deep planting to reduce soil-turning - agriculture already captures around 100 million tonnes of CO2. Conservation agriculture is a practice which can be much more widely practised, especially in the developing world.

Thirdly, agriculture can allow plants to survive and grow in a warming world - through saline tolerance, drought tolerance and improved resistance to new and more abundant pests posing increased risks to human health.

Finally, agriculture can reduce fossil fuel reliance, by producing renewables - notably the next generation of biofuels, like switchgrass - thereby eking out the earth's reserves of oil and minimising the carbon emissions of future energy demands.
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