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European Agriculture and Food Security: FACCE - JPI and Teagasc host "The Great Debate - on the Battle to Feed a Changing Planet"

The European joint programming initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change” (FACCE – JPI) and partner TEAGASC will organize an open debate at the ESOF conference on the burning questions of our time:

  • “Can agriculture eradicate hunger and reduce climate change at the same time?”
  • “Do we need to increase food production – or waste less food instead?”
  • “Who should take the lead in the fight against hunger and climate change?”

These are some of the questions of “The Great Debate on the Battle to Feed a Changing Planet” – organised by FACCE – JPI with partner Teagasc. Taking place on Friday, 13 July in Dublin, the Debate brings together five world-renowned scientists – including Professor Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – to debate these hot topics in front of an audience of 2,000 fellow scientists, policy makers, journalists and members of the public.

The world’s population is projected to grow from 7 billion today to 9 billion by 2050. In today’s world, already 1billion people are going to bed hungry each night. At the same time, demand for livestock products is growing rapidly in regions with increasing affluence. The bottom line is that the demand for food is expected to rise by 70-100% over the next four decades.

At the same time, climate change is affecting livelihoods and indeed farming itself, particularly in regions already affected by insufficient food production. Scientists agree that total greenhouse gases must be reduced by at least 50% by 2050, to avoid irreversible and dangerous climate change.

As agriculture is one of the contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, can the world have it both ways? Can we increase food production while at the same time reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture? Or should we eradicate hunger by different means? Or inversely, should agriculture be excused from reducing emissions and should reductions be sought in different sectors instead? What does climate-smart agriculture mean in practice? The 90-minute ‘Great Debate’ will be moderated by Leo Enright, science journalist, and will be broadcast globally on the web: www.esof2012.org

Besides the FACCE – JPI, the debate brings together the major global research initiatives on Food Security and Climate Change, the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases, the CGIAR programme on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, the UN Committee on Food Security and the EU Joint Research Centre, to decide on a joint global approach to research on food security and climate change.

Welcoming the speakers to the Great Debate, Teagasc Director, and Professor Gerry Boyle said: “we are proud to host the world’s leading authorities to debate the hot issues of our generation. Ireland is a small country with a big agricultural interest. No country can solve the twin challenges of food security and climate change on its own – and every country has to be part of the solution. By facilitating this debate on behalf of the EU Joint Programming Initiative on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change, we ensure that our own programme on sustainable agricultural intensification is taking a leadership role in helping develop global solutions."