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.
At the Climate Smart Agriculture in Asia workshop held in Bangkok, Thailand, last month, climatologists and agricultural researchers discussed farming practices and technologies that could help the region cope with global warming’s effects, including rising temperatures, increased salinity, and sporadic rainfall.
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.”