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Practical climate steps for agriculture

A new article published in the scientific journal PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) identifies several practical steps that can be taken to adapt agriculture to climate change during the next decade.

The scientists state that although important, these steps alone will not be enough. Long term food security, fibre and biofuel production requires an array of sophisticated management strategies and supportive policies. For this, a joint effort of scientists, policymakers and industry is needed, that will allow the world to cope with the large-scale changes expected.

Practical adaptations
Some climate change impacts are happening faster than previously thought states the article. Mitigation measures have so far failed to arrest the increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Practical adaptations such as changing timing of plantings, the varieties or species of crops grown might avoid the damage caused by 1- to 2-degree changes in temperature – those expected over the next few decades. However, the effectiveness of such adaptation strategies declines with increasing temperatures. Consequently, the damage from climate change will increase unless a whole new array of adaptation options are developed and used.

Six key elements
The scientific team from CSIRO in Australia, INRA in France, Arizona State University, IIASA in Austria and Wageningen University in the Netherlands, identifies six key elements needed for putting in place effective adaptation responses: 
*conviction that climate changes are real and likely to continue, 
*confidence that these changes will significantly impact on society,
*technical and other options to respond to the changes,
*support to make the transitions to new conditions, 
*new infrastructure, policies and institutions to support the new management and land use arrangements, and
*targeted monitoring of adaptations to learn what works, what does not and why

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Source: WUR

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