Skip over navigation

Friday, May 1

Conference, Day 2: Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet: The Challenge of Making More Food and Fewer Greenhouse Gases


Morning Session

Saving Our Hot and Hungry Planet

Location: McCormick 101

8:30-9 a.m. Continental Breakfast

9-10:15 a.m. Panel: Saving Our Soils—How Can We Get Carbon Back into the World’s Soils?

The world’s soil carbon exceeds the carbon in the atmosphere and plants combined. Cropping and overgrazing have caused large losses of soil carbon and the IPCC has identified changes in tillage practices and other efforts to sequester carbon in soils as the source of 90% of the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. New science has questioned the benefits of some changes in tillage practices but has also introduced new ideas, such as biochar. At the same time, soil degradation reduces agricultural production in many parts of the world. This panel will discuss issues involved with reversing soil degradation and increasing soil carbon sequestration.

Rattan Lal, Ohio State University; Cheryl Palm, Columbia University; Debbie Reed, DRD Associates; Discussant: Timothy LaSalle, The Rodale Institute

10:15-10:30 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.-noon. Panel: Improving Our Agricultural Policies

Both the United States and the world appear to be moving toward a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In New Zealand, where agriculture emits roughly half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, there have been proposals to impose these caps on agriculture. In the U.S., bills have called instead for other regulated sources to be able to purchase greenhouse gas credits by paying agricultural interests to reduce their emissions. Fundamental questions of involving unregulated sources in a cap and trade scheme include: whether these reductions can be accurately measured, will they be permanent, how can a system assure these reductions are in addition to reductions that would occur anyway and how to account for the potential of some reduction efforts to trigger other emissions known as leakage. Meanwhile, a variety of world dialogues are going on by which large purchasers of agricultural products are beginning to commit or are contemplating imposing conditions on agricultural producers to meet their purchasing requirements, and some major food purchasers are imposing conditions of their own. This panel will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these various strategies.

Debbie Reed, DRD Associates; Tim Searchinger, Princeton University

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch


Afternoon Session

Taking a Global Approach—Can International Assistance Programs Provide Incentives?

Location: McCormick 101

1-2 p.m. Panel: What Works in the Developing World? Stories about Agricultural Research and Development Aid

At the high point of food prices in the spring of 2008, many world leaders called for large increases in world agricultural assistance to developing nations and a major rejuvenation of research programs. So far, this funding has yet to come forward. Previous aid programs have supporters and critics. This panel will discuss these issues.

P.K. Joshi, TERI University; Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign; Shanthu Shantharam, Princeton University

2-3 p.m. Panel: Roundtable Discussion

Conference Speakers discuss presentations and what most needs to happen next.

3-3:15 p.m. Closing Remarks

Steve Pacala, Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Director, Princeton Environmental Institute.