Climate Change and Agriculture: ensuring food production is not threatened

Date released: Mar 14 2011

The EPA's climate change lecture series continues on Tuesday, 15 March 2011, at 6.30pm, in the Mansion House, Dublin, with a lecture entitled Climate Change and Agriculture - ensuring food production is not threatened.  The lecture will be given by Alexendre Meybeck of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, based in Rome.

One of the biggest challenges of this century will be providing food for a projected population of nine billion people in the face of climate change and growing competition for the use of natural resources.  Mr Meybeck’s lecture will address three intertwined  challenges for agriculture:

  1. Food systems have to ensure food security for all.
  2. They have to adapt to climate change and become more resilient at every level, from local to global; taking regional imbalances into account - since the effects of climate change will vary greatly across regions.
  3. How and to what extent food systems can contribute to mitigating the effects of climate change.

Mr Meybeck’s talk will focus on ways to address these challenges and will call for “climate smart agriculture”. There are already technical solutions but they need to be up-scaled and enhanced.  Developing climate smart agriculture will require renewed efforts across research, development and investment from local to global levels. .

Laura Burke, Director of the EPA’s Office of Climate Change said,

"This is a topic which goes to the heart of climate change and one in which Ireland has unique interests.  The agriculture sector, which produces almost 30 per cent of Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions, remains the single largest contributor to overall emissions.  Agriculture is key to Ireland’s economic growth, employing 150,000 people and producing annual exports of more than €7 billion.  Sustainable intensification of agriculture is required to address the interactions between food security, agriculture and climate change.”
In Ireland, the EPA has played a key part in the development of research for this sector and it is currently working closely with both the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc in developing a strategic research agenda to inform actions on mitigation and adaptation for the agriculture sector.  The strategy is linked to EU and global research initiatives.

Ms Burke, said,

“The EPA’s Climate Change Lecture Series has proved extremely popular, and we anticipate a large attendance at Mr Meybeck’s talk. For those who can’t attend, we will provide an on-line video of the talk.    Our hope is that the event will contribute to the national debate on agriculture and climate change and will explain the necessity to build links with global action on this key issue.”

All previous lectures in the EPA’s Climate Change Lecture Series are now available on the EPA’s You Tube Channel and on the EPA’s website.

Further information: Niamh Leahy/Emily Williamson, EPA Media Relations Office 053-9170770 (24 hrs)


Notes to Editor

Alexandre Meybeck is Senior Policy Officer on Agriculture, Environment and Climate Change in the office of the Assistant Director General in charge of the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations.
He has been working on agriculture and environment in the French Ministry of Agriculture as Head of the Environment and Rural Areas Unit and Head of the Environmental Strategies and Climate Change Unit. He has been Rapporteur for the French adaptation plan for agriculture, forestry and fisheries. He has also been Deputy Head of the Breeding Department of the French National Studs.