Opinion

Climate smart agriculture is the future

At long last the United States has signed up to a binding international agreement, ensuring that it carries an equitable share of the load when it comes to grappling with the challenge that is climate change.

As we all know agriculture – will be front and centre – when it comes to guaranteeing that the world’s population is fed sustainably on an ongoing basis. So, in truth, America’s commitment to join the Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, made last week in New York, represents a milestone in getting the world’s most important food producer agreeing to an initiative that has the potential to make a real difference in the battle against ‘planetary overheating’.

Let’s not forget that less than twenty years ago the US said ‘NO’ to the principles enshrined within the Kyoto Protocol, drawing comment from many of the world’s leading climatologists of the time that the world’s only super power was living in denial.

So yes, last week’s deal to establish a ‘smart agri’ accord has the potential t make a real difference as the planet faces up to its environmental responsibilities. But it’s only a start. Giving this latest initiative real momentum will require the active support of all the world’s leading food producing nations – including India and China. Both these aforementioned countries will be at the epicentre of the 50% growth in the world’ population, that has been predicted to become a reality over the next four decades. So, in the short term, both these hubs of humanity could be excused for being more interested in delivering on their own food security needs rather than listening to grandiose messages regarding the need to save the planet.

The game changer in this debate can, as it turns out, be distilled from the numerous speeches given by Simon Coveney as he successfully pulled together the strands of the last CAP deal during Ireland’s recent Presidency of the EU. On numerous occasions he highlighted the need for agriculture to be put on a ‘sustainable intensification ’footing. It is a term that ticks every conceivable box when it comes to putting the real challenge facing global agriculture into context. So let’s hope that the Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture is the vehicle that will allow this potential to be converted into tangible reality.

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