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Science for a Hungry World: Agriculture and Climate Change
This short, clear introduction from NASA is worth watching.
Climate Change and Agriculture
Australian Broadcasting Corporation
What will a different climate mean for agriculture on this continent of
extremes? This video (and transcript) looks at what might be expected of the
weather, what those changes might mean for crops in various parts of the
country, including seafood in the nearby oceans, and what might be done to
(9 minutes, March 2013)
For additional (older but still relevant) videos having to do with climate change and agriculture, please see the Archive.
The Great Challenge: Farming, Food and Climate Change
Michael Pollan, NYT Conferences
Food journalist and guru Pollan offers a very good overview of both the
climate-linked problems our food system faces and of ways agriculture can help
us deal with them.
(30 minutes, 2014)
Colorado River Basin Study
Bureau of Reclamation and 7 Western States, December 2012
From Denver to the California coast, forty million people depend on water from
the Colorado River Basin, and climate change seems likely to have serious
consequences for these users. This major study looks at the looming imbalance
between supply and demand over the next fifty years and considers various
means of coping with the coming shortage. Reporter Bruce Finley's
Denver Post article
Bureau of Reclamation's announcement
offer useful descriptions of the major findings.
||articles & essays
Feeding Climate Change: What the Paris Agreement Means for Food and Beverage Companies
Oxfam America, June 2016
This site offers two good resources. One is a set of clear interactive
graphics that illustrate, for 17 major food commodities (from rice to
strawberries), greenhouse gas emissions, the scale of global production, and
associated water scarcity. The other is a downloadable report, also clearly
written and illustrated, aimed at food and beverage companies but of broad
interest, that considers what is needed from global businesses while keeping
in mind the situations of small-scale producers and agricultural workers.
Sustainable Diets: What You Need to Know in 12 Charts
World Resources Institute, April 2016
On this user-friendly site, "To make sustainable diet choices easier for
consumers, WRI introduces a new protein scorecard ranking foods from lowest
(plant-based foods) to highest impact (beef), based on associated greenhouse
gas emissions per gram of protein. Encouragingly, some of the lowest-impact
foods are also the cheapest to buy." The full report is
Climate Smart Agriculture
Colorado Water, Colorado State University Water Center, March/April 2016
This magazine issue (Vol.33, #1) offers a readable overview of the situation
facing agriculture (for both crops and livestock), especially in Colorado but
also in surrounding areas, from expected climate changes (both general and
specific) to current and possible adaptation actions. A good survey and
introduction to this topic.
Healthy Ground, Healthy Atmosphere: Recarbonizing the Earth's Soils
Nancy Averett, Environmental Health Perspectives, February 2016
This interesting and readable story overviews ways to increase the health and
carbon content of soil through various farming techniques, including no-till,
cover crops, and biochar. While these methods are slowly gaining traction
among farmers, there is lots of room for more action on this front.
Why Beef Is the New SUV
John D. Sutter, CNN, September 2015
Part of Sutter's lively two degree reporting project, this informative piece
might give you some new things to consider on the question of what you eat.
Interesting to read, not the usual take on the topic, and with good links to
Giving Up Beef Will Reduce Carbon Footprint More than Cars, Says Expert
Damian Carrington, The Guardian, July 2015
This short report covers a couple of new studies comparing the carbon
footprint of different kinds of foods and diets. One concluded that "meat
lovers' diets cause double the climate-warming emissions of vegetarian diets";
another (published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences)
that beef "requires 28 times more land to produce than pork or chicken, 11
times more water and results in five times more climate-warming emissions.
When compared to staples like potatoes, wheat, and rice, the impact of beef
per calorie is even more extreme, requiring 160 times more land and producing
11 times more greenhouse gases."
Heat in the Heartland: Climate Change and Economic Risk in the Midwest
Risky Business, January 2015
This new report from the top-notch Risky Business research group is important
reading, not least for people interested in American food production, as well
as cities in the Midwest (defined here as the block from Missouri through Ohio
and up to the Canadian border). The "stark conclusion" they come to: "The
Midwest economy faces multiple and significant risks from climate change." A
good overview from E&E ClimateWire
How Weeds Could Help Feed Billions in a Warming World
Lisa Palmer, Environment 360, June 2014
"A weed is a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered": so says one of
the scientists whose work is profiled in this story. Sometimes wild plants
have genetic characteristics that could help their domesticated cousins
survive under the tougher conditions likely to increase with global warming,
including resilience to heat, drought, flooding, and pests.
Climate Change: How a Warming World is a Threat to our Food Supplies
John Vidal, The Observer, April 2013
A succinct but thorough overview of expected impacts of climate change on the
world's food crops over coming decades. Good graphics, which are also
Plant Hardiness Zones
No doubt climate shifts affect what we can grow where. What should these
changes look like on those familiar plant hardiness zone maps‒the ones we use
to decide which plants to try? The series of maps from the last few decades
tells the story. See
here for examples; for a good 2012 blog on these changes, see
Rangelands and Global Change
Society for Range Management
This very clear and readable overview of current and anticipated changes to
rangelands emphasizes the need for smart land management to reduce and cope
with unwanted changes in land use and productivity, invasive species,
atmospheric chemistry, climate, and water resources. For links to journal
articles outlining the effects of climate change on seven global rangeland
regions, see the June 2008 Issue of Rangelands,
"Climate Change and Rangelands."
Meat Eater's Guide
Environmental Working Group, 2011
Carefully researched "lifecycle assessments of 20 types of popular meat, fish,
dairy and vegetable proteins to determine their full "cradle-to-grave" carbon
footprints." The "At-a-Glance" document is the place to start, but there is
lots more here as well, including a very detailed full report and many other
resources for those who want to eat with the planet's health in mind.
Agriculture Resources, Cornell Climate Change
This site offers an excellent set of resources, including factsheets,
decision-support tools for farmers, videos, scientific studies, and more.
Examples are centered on New York but should be useful to many other
agricultural producers, researchers, and students.
High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy
World Bank, 2016
Here is the opening of the summary of this rich, sobering, and practical
report: "The impacts of climate change will be channeled primarily through the
water cycle, with consequences that could be large and uneven across the
Agricultural Adaptation to a Changing Climate
US Department of Agriculture, July 2012, 76 pages (total)
This thorough and readable report pays attention to regional differences and
focuses on adaptation. Worth reading for anyone with a serious interest in