Climate 411

How Brazil can develop its rural economy, increase agricultural production and protect forests

Day one panel “How should the rural economy be in the future?” featuring, from left, Carlos Nobre (IEA-USP), André Guimarães (IPAM), Regina Sambuichi (Ipea), and Juliano Assunção (PUC-RIO). Photo by IPC-IG on Flickr .

The recent fires in the Amazon rainforest have raised the question: is it possible to have a new model of development in the region that reconciles forest protection with economic growth?

The pressing threats of climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation along with a growing global demand for agricultural commodities, pose major challenges and opportunities for rural economies.

A group of Brazilian and international scientists, economists, and government officials joined private sector, civil society and multilateral organization representatives in Brasília to discuss how these challenges could be turned into economic and environmental opportunities for the Brazilian rural sector.

The two day workshop, “Business Opportunities for a Sustainable Rural Economy: The Contribution from Forests and Agriculture,” examined different facets of Brazil’s potential in a low-carbon rural economy. Organized by Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) in partnership with the Institute for Applied Economic Research (Ipea) of the Brazilian Ministry of Economy, and the United Nations Development Program – International Policy Centre for Inclusive Growth (IPC-IG), participants concluded that Brazil has an unparalleled comparative advantage to foster a buoyant sustainable rural economy that couples economic and agricultural development with environmental protection.

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Also posted in Brazil, Carbon Markets, Forest protection / Read 1 Response

Momentum Builds for Agriculture at COP 24

Plenary at COP 24 in Katowice, Poland. Flickr/ UNclimatechange

Agriculture negotiators arrived in Katowice, Poland eager to get to work on the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA) during COP 24. The KJWA is a UNFCCC initiative directing the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) and the Subsidiary Body for Implementation (SBI) to jointly consider how to tackle agriculture issues in the context of climate change.

Following the creation of the KJWA roadmap during the May 2018 intersessional in Bonn—which laid out an agenda of workshops, topic submissions, and workshop reports every six months between the 2018 intersessional and the end of 2020—negotiators agreed to continue their joint work on addressing issues related to agriculture, beginning with the first in-session workshop during COP 24 in Katowice. Over the course of the first week of the COP, it became clear that the negotiators were determined to keep the momentum going.

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Also posted in Forest protection, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Comments are closed

Tropical forest regions can greatly reduce commodity-driven deforestation: here’s how

Brazilian Amazon. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Brazilian Amazon. Photo credit: Shutterstock

Commitments to reduce deforestation in key commodity supply chains are on the rise, as are initiatives to implement them. EDF and colleagues at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies set out to map where such initiatives are underway. Specifically, they looked at areas where Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) programs, jurisdictional approaches, and private sector actions are working to reduce deforestation driven by cattle, soy, palm oil, cocoa, and pulp and timber production.

In the peer-reviewed article Trifecta of Success for Reducing Commodity-Driven Deforestation, the authors determined which areas have the most potential for reducing commodity-driven deforestation at the scale and level needed to make a lasting impact. The findings can help companies and policymakers determine where to focus their implementation efforts.

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Also posted in Brazil, Forest protection, International, REDD+ / Read 1 Response

Climate smart rice farming: Integrated co-management of fertilizers with mild-intermittent flooding

This blog was co-authored by Richie Ahuja, Tapan Adhya & Kritee

By applying climate smart farming practices, small-holder farming communities in India can become more climate resilient, as well as improve yield and profit. But as recently revealed by Environmental Defense Fund, rice farmers using the well intentioned current prescribed irrigation practice – intermittent flooding – to improve mitigation and adaptation could be contributing to elevated emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a powerful, long-lived greenhouse gas.

In collaboration with the Fair Climate Network and a coalition of grassroots NGOs across India, we worked directly with small-holder farmers across 16,000 acres in five states between 2012 and 2016 to perform high frequency monitoring of methane (CH4) & N2O emissions for both business-as-usual and potential climate smart farming practices.

Photo by Tamil Selvi. A farmer learning to measure water levels in the field using a field water tube

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Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science / Comments are closed

Global anthropogenic climate impacts must include nitrous oxide emissions from rice fields

This blog was co-authored by Kritee, Jeremy Proville, Terry Loecke, Richie Ahuja

Rice is a critical global crop: it provides livelihood to 150 million households and is a staple for half of humanity. However, it uses 11% of arable land and a third of irrigation water. In addition, continuously flooded rice fields are like wetlands and known to produce about 12% of total anthropogenic methane (CH4), a powerful short-lived greenhouse gas. Despite being one of the few crops whose climate impacts have been deeply studied over two decades, the potential of large emissions of nitrous oxide (N2O), a long-lived greenhouse gas, from rice cultivation was surprisingly missed until recently.

Given that the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiators working on agricultural mitigation are set to review the issue of water and nitrogen management in early 2019, it is crucial that the climate impacts of rice cultivation are determined and lowered over both the long- and short-term.

Photo by Rakesh Tiwari: Women harvesting seedlings for rice nursery

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Also posted in Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Science / Comments are closed

Connecting indigenous growers with buyers helps save forests and lift up communities

Hugo and Jose, cacao, Mexico, Original Beans

Indigenous farmers Hugo and Jose of Agrofloresta examine cacao saplings to be planted in Mexico. Photo credit: Anders Prien Saxbol of Original Beans

Economic development while also conserving forests is not easy. Building infrastructure and increasing production often entails forest degradation or destruction. But at Environmental Defense Fund, our mantra “Finding the ways that work” challenges us to solve even the most intractable problems. And so over the last five years, one way we made economic development and forest conservation “work” is by partnering with indigenous organizations that sustainably grow coffee and cacao in some of the most remote parts of the world, and bringing to them buyers from the United States and Europe.

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Also posted in Forest protection, Indigenous People / Comments are closed