G8 climate deal a “step in the right direction” – Jarvis

10 July, 2009 by (comments)

CIAT’s climate change expert Andy Jarvis has welcomed the G8’s decision to limit global temperature rises to no more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The heads-of-state of the world’s most powerful industrialized countries have been meeting in Rome, Italy, this week, with carbon emissions targets high on the agenda.

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The 2-degree cap, agreed on Thursday (July 9th), is a commitment to keep temperature increases within what many scientists regard as a “safe zone”, beyond which global warming becomes irreversible. Jarvis, an award-winning CIAT geographer said it was a positive move: “It’s encouraging that some of the most powerful people in the world are now getting the message about climate change. This is definitely a step in the right direction.”

But he warned the international community against complacency: “Even a 2-degree rise will change the face of agriculture significantly, and already poor farmers everywhere are feeling the effects of rising temperatures and unpredictable rains. Production zones are disappearing and pest and disease pressure is on the rise. Without effective adaptation the result will be more failed harvests and rising global hunger.”

In order to avert a future climate crisis in agriculture, Jarvis called for a fundamental shift in the way the world produces food. “Agriculture must become eco-efficient. This means supporting cutting edge scientific research to make farming more sustainable. We need to move quickly, especially in perennial crops, because the decisions farmers make today will see results in 10-12 years time.”

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For Andy’s message to world leaders in advance of the Copenhagen climate meeting later this year, see here.

Andy also speaks to Colombian newspapers El Diario and La Tarde about the threat of climate change to coffee production. You can see his recent presentation on the subject here.

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Filed Under: Inside CIAT