In this contribution to Science's Policy Forum section the authors address the challenges facing agriculture. Global agriculture must produce more food to feed a growing population. Yet scientific assessments point to climate change as a growing threat to agricultural yields and food security. Recent droughts and floods in the Horn of Africa, Russia, Pakistan, and Australia affected food production and prices. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predicts that the frequency of such extreme weather events will increase, which, when combined with poverty, weak governance, conflict, and poor market access, can result in hunger and famine. At the same time, agriculture exacerbates climate change when greenhouse gases (GHGs) are released by land clearing, inappropriate fertilizer use, and other practices.
Beddington, J.R.; Asaduzzaman, M.; Clark, M.E.; Fernandez Bremauntz, A.; Guillou, M.D.; Howlett, D.J.B.; Jahn, M.M.; Erda, L.; Mamo,T.; Negra, C.; Nobre, C.A.; Scholes, R.J.; Nguyen, V.B.; Wakhungu, J. What Next for Agriculture After Durban? Science (2012) 335 (6066) 289-290. [DOI: 10.1126/science.1217941]