This conference will be an overview of the impacts of climate change on agriculture and the range of options available to cope with the changes. It will also address the impacts agriculture has on the climate and the options available to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. If you want to get to grips with the state of the art in agriculture, food supply and climate change, then this conference will tell you all you need to know. In a day.
Climate change and agriculture and the food supply chain are tightly interwoven. On the one hand, agriculture is a significant contributor to emissions of greenhouse gases (somewhere in the range of 10-20%). On the other hand, agriculture will be seriously affected by a changing climate. While there could be disruptions of many kinds, worryingly, the main impact is expected to be a larger number of extreme events such as droughts and storms making it harder for farmers to produce food consistently. In rich countries this may affect consumers’ prices, but in poorer countries its a matter of life and death. Meanwhile, a fast-growing, more affluent and increasingly urbanised population is switching to diets rich in animal products; and the tendency to build on the most productive farmland as cities expand continues. Food production and the food supply chain must keep pace with these multiple challenges.
However, there are things that we can do to reduce emissions, adapting to the changing climate whilst increasing production. Some of these solutions are technical (e.g. plant breeding, precision agriculture or livestock diets that generate less methane); others are managerial (e.g. irrigation management) and some are sociological (e.g. changing consumer behaviour). For uptake of the solutions to be successful, government policy must encourage sustainable approaches at the individual, national and global levels.