Climate change is predicted to cause more intense and frequent floods and droughts in Southeast Asia, threatening the world’s rice bowl and millions of people who live there unless preventive actions are taken soon, scientists warn.
The conference was about “bringing all these players together to look at how the research agenda needs to change in the agricultural research world in relation to climate change,” said Bruce Campbell of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), which helped organize the two-day workshop.
In addition, scientists at the meeting discussed potential ways to use agriculture to mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions such as methane. Agriculture, forestry, and changes in land use account for a third of greenhouse gas emissions, said Campbell, who is the program director of CGIAR’s Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).
“That’s a significant portion,” Campbell said, “but we can reduce it.”
Breaking the Breadbasket?
The countries of South and Southeast Asia are home to more than 30 percent of the world’s population, about half of whom depend on agriculture—mainly rice, but also other crops such as wheat—for their livelihoods. But according to the World Bank, global warming could reduce agricultural productivity in the region by 10 to 50 percent in the next 30 years. More