Climate Change: America & Agriculture

On June 1st , 2017  President Donald Trump officially withdrew his support and participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, siding with officials in the White House who had argued that the agreement was a malicious threat to both the economy and American sovereignty. This agreement has been signed by over 200 countries in December 2015, and was scheduled to come into effect in 2020.

Approximately forty percent of the land in United States of America is used for agriculture, including livestock grazing. The three largest crops include corn, soybean and wheat. The United States of America is the world’s largest beef producer and second largest beef exporter. They are also the second largest producers, importers and exporters of Pork. Livestock production takes place in all 50 states of the country.

Food production is one of the largest contributors to climate change. Methane Gas released by livestock cultivation and Nitrous Oxide emitted from the use of certain fertilisers are known to be more hazardous than Carbon Dioxide. Deforestation and peatland drainage due to bad agricultural practises add to the already high levels of greenhouse gases present in the atmosphere. Conventional agricultural practises are highly energy dependent.

Climate change has a profound impact on agriculture and food security. Although the Climate Deal did not directly address food production, it did pay attention to and recognise the need for food security. Agriculture offers a plethora of opportunities of combating climate change by way of offering mitigation and adaptive solutions. It can improve food production, curb wastage and help in lowering emissions. Further it can do so using technology and systems that are already in place and affordable.

References:

  1. Studies Highlight Top Sources of Pollution by Abigail W. Leonard. 5th November, 2006. Planet Earth, Live Science. http://www.livescience.com/4297-studies-highlight-top-sources-pollution.html
  2. The Paris Climate Agreement: Agriculture and Food Security by Jonathan Verschuuren, 11th February, 2016 https://pure.uvt.nl/portal/files/10163370/ACCEL_paper_Verschuuren_Paris_Agreement.pdf
  3. Agricultural Production and Prices, Ag and Food Statistics: Charting the Essentials. Data Products, Home. USDA United States Department of Agriculture Economic Research Service. https://www.ers.usda.gov/data-products/ag-and-food-statistics-charting-the-essentials/agricultural-production-and-prices/
  4. Animal Production, Animals, Topics, Home. USDA U.S. Department of Agriculture. https://www.usda.gov/topics/animals/animal-production

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