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Mary Jane Angelo

This chapter serves as an introduction to the issues associated with agriculture and climate change and provides context for the other chapters in the volume. It describes how, although a wide range of ideas and perspectives are presented in the volume, several common themes emerge. Climate change and agriculture are part of a complex web of science, law and policy, which extends from the global scale to the smallholder. Agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change and thus should be considered part of the solution, as well as part of the problem. Consequently changes to agricultural systems that reduce GHG emissions, sequester carbon or put land to use in ways that reduce overall atmospheric carbon can be important tools for climate change mitigation. Conversely agriculture in general and food security in particular, will suffer serious adverse impacts from climate change even with mitigation measures in place. Accordingly agricultural adaptation strategies targeted at agricultural production will be critical to ensuring food security in the future. Because of the pervasive complexity and uncertainty regarding climate change impacts on agriculture, it will be important to ensure that any adaptation efforts employ systems approaches aimed at building resiliency in agricultural production as well as in the entire agricultural value chain. In many cases resilient agricultural systems are comprised of both mitigation and adaptive elements. Thus building more resilient systems will have benefits in reducing the adverse effects of climate change as well as adapting to the inevitable effects that will occur. Although climate change will result in adverse impacts throughout the globe, disproportionate impacts will be felt by the poorest and most vulnerable populations. Regions of the developing world face the greatest threats to food security. Mitigation and adaptation strategies, including regulatory and financial policies must include measures to ensure greater food security for poor and vulnerable populations. This volume provides a number of proposals for climate change mitigation and adaptation aimed at providing food security for a growing population in an era of dramatic changes to the global environment. Key Words: food security, climate change, agriculture, resilience, adaptation, mitigation

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Lance H Gunderson

Ongoing climate change will continue to provide surprises to agricultural ecosystems. Resilience, adaptation and transformation are models that can be used to think about how complex agro-ecosystems change over time. Resilience is an inherent property of systems that describes how complex systems respond to disturbances (such as storms, floods and droughts) and describes how systems undergo qualitative shifts in structure and function into alternative system states or regimes. Such regime shifts or transformations involve dynamics of processes operating across many nested spatial scales. Large-scale systems such as the atmosphere can influence regional patterns of climate. Climate and weather at regional scales can influence changes in agro-ecosystems at the field level, the farm level, and farming community levels. Large-scale economic processes such as globalization and world-wide delivery systems can link local production with markets half a world away. Small-scale processes such as microbial respiration in tilled or drained organic soils contribute to the accumulation of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Such cross-scale, nonlinear dynamics create large uncertainties in our ability to predict how these systems will respond to changes in climatic drivers. Dealing with such uncertainty will require programs that focus on understanding and learning as much or more than development of better policies, laws or programs. Moreover, such uncertainties require new and innovative trials that allow practitioners to learn and probe uncertainty. The cost of not doing so will result in a less desirable future, rather than one that may be more equitable, just and sustainable. Key Words: resilience, transformation, adaptation, climate change, agro-ecosystems

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Edited by Mary Jane Angelo and Anél Du Plesis

Bringing together scholars from across the globe, this timely book astutely untangles the climate-food web and critically explores the nexus between climate change, agriculture and law, upon which food security and climate resilient development depends.
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Michelle Nowlin and Emily Spiegel

Agriculture is both a driver of global climate change and a key partner in the quest for solutions. It is also a critical segment of the world’s economy, and one particularly vulnerable to climate change. Agriculture is a significant source of two of the most potent greenhouse gases: nitrous oxide (N2O) and methane (CH4), accounting for approximately 70 and 25 percent of emissions, respectively, across all US economic sectors. Of agriculture’s total greenhouse gas contribution, approximately 30 percent is attributed to the livestock sector. Despite the significant role the livestock industry plays in greenhouse gas emissions, it has thus far evaded regulation in the US. Instead, approaches to reducing livestock greenhouse gas emissions have been voluntary, incentive-based, and wholly inadequate to the scale and urgency of the problem. As we seek ways to lower greenhouse gas emissions and forestall the effects of global climate change, we must remove the protections long afforded the agricultural industry and adapt existing regulatory tools to address its contributions. This chapter examines the structure of the US livestock industry and the research quantifying its greenhouse gas emissions. It explores emerging mitigation measures and regulatory tools to address and reduce its contributions. It includes an overview of the approaches to regulating the livestock industry and greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act, as well as other voluntary and incentive-based government programs. Key Words: anaerobic digestion, livestock, manure management, greenhouse gases, Farm Bill

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Rebecca M Bratspies

This chapter addresses two specific narratives about genetically-modified organisms in an era of changing climate – the putative role for genetically-engineered crops in adaptation to climate change, and the putative role for genetic engineering as a mitigation strategy to reduce the climate change trajectory. This chapter takes up each set of claims in turn, examining how genetically-engineered crops might, or might not, be part of a climate change solution. Key Words: GMOs, climate change, genetic engineering, agricultural biotechnology, climate mitigation, climate adaptation, sustainability

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Paul Martin

This chapter takes a systems approach to understanding the degree to which rural sustainability might be achievable under conditions of climate change. It considers the problem of legal effectiveness from a strategic perspective, considering first the interconnectivity of fundamental biophysical systems, and then links these to socio-economic dynamics to provide a rich understanding of the likely effects of climate change on rural areas and on governance itself. The chapter highlights the extent to which the nature of environmental problems will continue to depart from the ones that are well understood, to different self-generating and very complex types, for which innovative governance approaches are essential. Key Words: governance systems, complexity, rural communities, agriculture

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Robert W Adler

Under international law, every person has a human right to basic life support goods and services, including food, clothing and shelter. All of these are supplied in part by agricultural economies. A growing global population will also increase demand for fiber and other agricultural materials, as well as biofuels that increasingly compete with food for agricultural production. Water is essential to this agricultural productivity, but water reliability is likely to decline in many regions of the world in the face of climate change. Water may be available in an agricultural region generally, but not at the location of the best soils or other resources, thus requiring storage and transport to support a successful agricultural economy. Sufficient water may be available to grow particular crops, but other parties may have competing water rights. Poor water quality may affect some crops more than others. Water law regimes, both domestic and international, help human economies use available water supplies for agriculture efficiently, effectively, or equitably, depending on the goals established by the governing law. Increasingly, water law also seeks to preserve human uses while also protecting aquatic and other water dependent ecosystems. As a result, there is a pressing need for individual nations and the global community to design and implement strategies to adapt existing water law to the potentially significant impacts of climate change. This chapter explores the impacts of climate change on the relationship between water and agriculture, and the degree to which domestic and international water law will have to adapt to those impacts. It reviews predictions about the likely impact of climate change on water supplies and the stability and reliability of those supplies. The chapter also evaluates the ability of both international water law and domestic water law – using US water law as the prime example – to adapt to those changes. Key Words: climate change, water law, agriculture, adaptation, risk, water supply

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Akachi Odoemene

Climate change and land grabbing are tightly interconnected in ways that are both diverse and complex. They have impacted each other in significant ways too. Both phenomena are not only a political reality, but have diverse dire implications, especially for food and livelihood security of vulnerable populations in developing economies. The critical nexus and interactions of climate change and land grabbing remain one of the challenges of sustainable development in modern times. The nuanced understanding of the nexus, importance and implications of climate change and land grabbing are the primary focus of this chapter. It begins with conceptual clarifications, particularly arguing that the absence of some important principles of engagement underline and define a land grab. It also analyses and notes a good number of contemporary land deals as ‘one-sided’, in which wealthy entities connive with local elites to exploit and dispossess rural poor populations. The chapter not only examines both global and local factors that drive land grabbing and, in some cases, their connection with the incidence of climate change, but also explores their crucial links with such sectors as agriculture. The reasons why certain societies are susceptible to the incidence of climate change and land grabbing are enumerated, while the overall consequences of these phenomena on the affected societies are further examined. The chapter concludes that the lack of political will by global political leaders to effectively combat and resolve critical issues associated with both climate change and land grabbing remains a daunting challenge. It notes that these phenomena – climate change and land grabbing – if not abated, will certainly become another set of global tragic episodes to be regretted in the future. Key Words: climate change, land grabbing, wealth and elite exploitation, agriculture, vulnerable populations, and developing economies

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Elodie Le Gal

Agricultural industries such as livestock and crop production provide food and raw materials to billions of people. They generate income for households, including 70 percent of the world’s poor who live in rural areas. To ensure food security and maintain agricultural productivity while sustaining natural resources environmental services from agricultural lands need to remain sustainable. However, over recent decades, agricultural assets have been dramatically impacted by a range of human-induced environmental threats, among which are climate change and invasive species. This chapter explores some key relationships between climate change, invasive species law, and agriculture. While invasive species law can contribute to climate change adaptation by protecting agricultural values from harmful biological infestations, significant institutional, governance and methodological challenges are likely to jeopardise its effectiveness. While these various challenges are discussed in the Australian context, this chapter intends to provide broader insights into the institutional improvements likely to be required to improve invasive species law in other parts of the world to protect agricultural systems from biological infestations aggravated by climate change. It also highlights further research directions to better reconcile invasive species law with sustainable agriculture and livelihoods while building an effective low-carbon economy. Key Words: climate change, invasive species, governance challenges

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Sérgio Sauer, José Paulo Pietrafesa and Pedro Araujo Pietrafesa

The aim of this chapter is to analyze the expansion of ethanol production and sugarcane cultivation in the Brazilian Biome called Cerrado and its impacts on national levels of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The main argument is that the production cycle of ethanol not only emits a large quantity of GHG, but also causes environmental and social problems in the regions where it is cultivated. Sugarcane, has been part of Brazilian agricultural history since the colonial era. More recently, it has been used to produce both sugar and/or ethanol, and the production of ethanol has increased greatly since the development of flex-fuel vehicles. After 2005, the Brazilian sugarcane harvest expanded by 69 percent due to the Brazilian National Agro Energy Plan (2006–2011), Sugarcane Agroecological Zoning, governmental financial incentives and international capital investments. It has a strong commercial appeal because of the ‘potential for reducing global greenhouse gas emissions’. Thus, the emissions were calculated using a method developed by Claros Garcia and Von Sperling (2010), concluding that the production cycle of ethanol is responsible for approximately 8.33 percent of total GHG emissions in Brazil. Besides such impact and despite the advances in technologies for the cultivation of sugarcane, the agrofuel industry is one of the main contributors to social and environmental issues in the Brazilian countryside. Key Words: sugarcane ethanol, Cerrado Biome, land use, environmental impacts, GHG, Brazil