Climate Change Update

October 12, 2011

Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Fluxes in Agriculture:
Challenges and Opportunities

While heated debates about climate change often seem to cloud the issue, science-based research provides clarity and the most credible foundation for decision makers. The authors of CAST’s new climate change publication give detailed scientific explanations, and they examine the causes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, how they might be managed, and what the environmental, economic, and policymaking consequences might be.

One cochair of the paper, Dr. Ron Follet (USDA-ARS-NPA), presented the publication on the Iowa State University campus at a class and a seminar on October 11. Dr. Follet (pictured at right)  then presented the report at the official rollout on Wednesday, October 12, at the Ruan II Building Auditorium in Des Moines, Iowa. If you could not attend the presentation on October 12, a video will be available on this CAST website the following week.

This Task Force Report includes graphs, photos, tables, and a large number of literature citations, but a statement early in the paper makes a key point clear: “Ag-related emissions are a result of both human-induced and natural processes in the ecosystem, and ag-related emissions can be managed.”

This publication is a timely update of the 2004 landmark CAST Task Force Report on climate change. Modern-day environmental issues include the need to reduce concentrations of carbon dioxide and other GHGs in Earth’s atmosphere. Agriculture is in the middle of this, and the challenges include adapting management and land use to cope with the changing climate and adopting mitigation strategies to decrease agriculture’s net contributions to GHG production. While agriculture deals with its key production roles, it also must consider conservation and the protection of natural resources.

As CAST EVP/CEO Dr. John Bonner says, “The authors include a wealth of background information and statistical data, but they also confront the realities and consequences of the climate change issues that are making headlines today.”