Climate change

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and the transport of food make up a significant proportion of global emissions, while climate change will impact food systems through increased drought, flooding and extreme weather events.

By Jessica Thorn, Biodiversity Institute in the Department of Zoology, University of Oxford

With the closing of COP19 in Warsaw last month, some may be disappointed that negotiating parties put a hard stop around negotiating adaptation to climate change  for agriculture and land use. Rather than reaching concrete political commitments now, debates remain around what should be done for policy and science in the future. Considering the complex difficulties in bridging gaps between what is and what should be, it is not surprising that the burden will be continue fall on 2.5 billion people depending on subsistence agriculture. This only highlights the utility of considering the future for action now.

Jessica Thorn, of the Systemic Integrated Adaptation program of CCAFS (Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security) reports on an impact evaluation study that was conducted in Nepal in recent months. Her research assesses the impact of adaptations to land management of smallholders on ecosystem processes, goods, and services. And many of the themes that arise hone in on cooperation, collaboration, and knowledge sharing to develop more sustainable solutions.

Read more...

By Kremlin Wickramasinghe, University of Oxford

The School Food Plan for England released last week is supposed to be the blueprint that improves lunches in schools across the country. The important role of head teachers, a funding commitment from the government to support schools, and the requirement for all schools and academies to follow these guidelines are real highlights.

Read more...

Article published by Nature (Nature 531, 551 (31 March 2016) doi:10.1038/531551a) written by Dr Adam Briggs

 

Health campaigners and political observers got a surprise in the United Kingdom's latest budget. This month, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced a sugar tax in the form of a levy on sugary-drinks manufacturers.

This is a bold and welcome move from a Conservative government that has often been criticized for not standing up to industry. It demonstrates that officials and policymakers have heeded advice and now recognize that sugar is a public-health problem that needs legislative control. The tax has potential implications not just for public health and the global soft-drinks industry, but also for the ability of all governments to act on market failures in food.

Britain will not be the first place to introduce a sugar-drink tax. Mexico, France, Hungary and Finland, among others, have taxed sugary drinks; South Africa, the Philippines, Indonesia and India are considering doing so. Hungary and Finland have also taxed some unhealthy foods.

Read more...

Tara Garnett reflects on her co-authored, recently released, article 'Sustainable Intensification in Agriculture: Premises and Policies'.

Read more...

By Dr Joost Vervoort & Elisabeth van de Grift

Under uncertain futures, decision-makers and researchers from across the Mekong region in Southeast Asia are reviewing their agriculture and climate policies.

Read more...
By Chris Kaplonski, University of Cambridge, Anthropology
 
‘This can’t be healthy!’ ‘I don’t want to drink this!’  Thus the consumers.
 
‘I wanted to make healthy wine.’ Thus the winemaker.
 
We are all familiar with the story of the environmental campaigners standing up to the evil MegaCorp and their nefarious effect on the food supply. While I have no wish to detract from such movements, here I want to tell another story – the nefarious consumers and their invidious effects on the growth of sustainable wine-making. 
 
Austria proclaims itself Europe’s greenest wine-making industry, with 90% of vineyards under some form of sustainable cultivation – whether integrated pest management and intercropping, the more stringent organic rules, or even biodynamic farming. Some go even a step further, to what is called ‘natural’ wine which eschews most technological fixes available to winemakers, as well as farming organically or biodynamically. Yet the maker of the un/healthy wines, a producer of natural wines, exports about 90 percent of his wines, including to the world-famous restaurant NOMA in Copenhagen, since people in Austria won’t drink it. 
 
Read more...

By Abrar Chaudhury

A new journal paper by Oxford-based CCAFS researchers presents a participatory framework for costing agriculture adaptation interventions using varied assumptions of experts and local actors.

Read more...

By Joost Vervoort (CCAFS) and Michael Balinga (CIFOR)

CGIAR research programs join forces with Burkina Faso to support the development of a national plan for the rural sector using scenario-guided policy planning.

Read more...

By Hannah Rowlands

Last week, the Oxford Martin School hosted a seminar about the health and environmental imapct of our diets, as part of their seminar series "Health in the 21st century: what’s new?".

You can watch the seminar again on their website, but here are some notes that summarise the main arguments made by the three speakers.

Read more...

By Hannah Rowlands

We were fortunate enough to have Professor James Jones, University of Florida, one of the principal investigators on AgMIP, speak to us recently in Oxford about "Model-Based Integrated Assessment of Food Security".

Read more...

Pages