December 4, 2015 | By Doug Bereuter, Dan Glickman

US Leadership at Paris Climate Talks Critical to Future of Agriculture

This post was originally published on The Hill.

No industry in the United States or around the world is more vulnerable to a changing climate than agriculture. Simply put: it’s an outdoor industry. It’s raising animals. It’s growing crops. And it’s very dependent on cooperative weather for its success. Like all industries, agriculture has its supply and demand challenges, but in no other industry does the weather dictate the survival or failure of individual producers. If the United States plans to successfully lead on climate change at COP21 in Paris this week, then we must understand that failure to reach a climate change agreement means failure for farmers, in the United States and worldwide.    

Climate change causes uniquely severe and unpredictable weather.  This isn’t just bad for farmers—it’s harmful for everyone. Catastrophic weather patterns lead to farm failures, food shortages, and price volatility. These issues hit the most vulnerable farmers in poor- and middle-income countries the hardest, but producers in the United States are not immune. The supply chains that stock American grocery stores extend to all continents, and American farmers, too, fail when floods or drought strike their land—a fact leaders in the agriculture community and Washington should not forget.  Failure to reach an agreement in Paris at COP21 would mean a continued, growing disaster for farmers and food supplies across the world.  

Continue reading on The Hill >


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The Global Food and Agriculture Program is housed within the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, an independent, nonpartisan organization that provides insight – and influences the public discourse – on critical global issues. The Council on Global Affairs convenes leading global voices and conducts independent research to bring clarity and offer solutions to challenges and opportunities across the globe. The Council is committed to engaging the public and raising global awareness of issues that transcend borders and transform how people, business, and governments engage the world.

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