Friday, December 18, 2009

Getting at the roots of unsustainable U.S. ag policy

Getting at the roots of unsustainable U.S. ag policy
by Paula Crossfield
16 Dec 2009

Around one third of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the way we produce, process, distribute, and consume the food we eat according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Meanwhile, farmers the world over will be the most affected by climate change, as higher carbon in the atmosphere and higher temperatures increase erratic weather patterns, pests, and disease occurrence, while decreasing water availability, disrupting relationships with pollinators and lowering yield and the efficacy of herbicides like glyphosate (aka Round-Up)—all detailed in a revealing new report from the USDA called The Effects of Climate Change on U.S. Ecosystems [pdf].

We should all give the USDA credit for keeping the ties between agriculture, food, and climate change at the forefront of the discussion. Even in Copenhagen, where agriculture is getting less attention than it arguably should be considering its impact and potential for mitigating climate change, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack spoke about the need for research, and seeing agriculture as an opportunity for climate change mitigation. He even said to the delegates in Copenhagen, “We need to develop cropping and livestock systems that are resilient to climate change.” While I agree on the surface with these statements, taking a deeper look reveals potentially problematic ideas for just how to do this.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts with Thumbnails