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Thursday, April 30

Conference, Day 1: Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet: The Challenge of Making More Food and Fewer Greenhouse Gases

Morning Session

The Challenge of Feeding Nine Billion People Well

Location: McCosh 10

8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:30-8:45 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

8:45-10:15 a.m. Panel: Understanding the Challenges of Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet

This panel will provide an overview of the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and their sources, including deforestation from agricultural expansion, methane from rice and livestock and nitrous oxide from fertilizer. The panel will also address the need for expanded food production to feed a growing population that eats better, the potential increased emissions associated with that expanded production, the competition with land for biofuels and other demands, and the constraints on expanded food production from available water.

David Tilman, University of Minnesota; Jerry Mellilo, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory; Michael Obersteiner, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

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

10:30 a.m.-noon Panel: How Can We Feed the Hungry While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

This panel will discuss the prospects for increasing food production, particularly to meet the needs of the world’s malnourished, while avoiding deforestation. It will discuss the prospects for additional yield increases and the lessons from the Green Revolution, and the particular challenge of increasing rice production while decreasing emissions from the associated methane.

Jonathan Foley, University of Minnesota; Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch


Location: McCosh 50

1–1:45 p.m. Thoughts from an Organic Entrepreneur

Gary Hirshberg, CEO, Stonyfield Farm

Afternoon Session

Dietary Choices, Out on the Range and the Fertilizer Quandry

Location: McCosh 50

2-3:30 p.m. Panel: Out on the Range—The Dilemma Surrounding More Livestock and Pasture

The world’s grazing land more than doubles the world’s cropland, and expansion of grazing land into tropical forests is occurring at twice the rate of cropland expansion. Grazing lands are simultaneously seen as sources of carbon sequestration, potential areas for reforestation or biofuel production, and areas that can be enhanced to boost livestock yields. At the same time, livestock digestion and their manure are large sources of greenhouse gases and could grow. This panel will discuss the implications of dietary choices, and issues regarding future livestock and grazing land management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Henning Steinfeld, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Gidon Eshel, Bard University; Discussant: Michael Obersteiner, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

3:30-3:45 p.m. Coffee Break

3:45-5 p.m. Panel: The Quandary over Fertilizer—How Do We Feed Our Crops While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Nitrous oxide generated by the use of fertilizer production and use and nitrogen fixation by crops is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and the IPCC projects large increases in emissions as food production increases. What are the technical and policy alternatives for reducing these emissions?

Timothy LaSalle, The Rodale Institute; Tracy Blackmer, Iowa Soybean Association; David Castle, University of Ottawa; Discussant: Jerry Mellilo, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

Late Afternoon Final Thoughts: Forest Successes?

5-5:30 p.m. Can We Make More Room for Forests? A Success Story

A few countries have succeeded in recent years in increasing its forest cover while dramatically boosting yields. How has this worked and what are the lessons for addressing world deforestation?

Eric Lambin, University of Louvain

5:45-7:45 p.m. Dinner at Prospect House for Panelists and Invited Faculty

Evening Debate

Slow Food vs. High Tech Food—Which is the Path to a Cooler Planet?

Location: McCosh 50

8-9:30 p.m. A Debate over Low-Input Food vs. High-Input Food

In the United States and around the world, advocates of “slow food,” organic food and sustainable agriculture have challenged the dominant model of agricultural production based on use of the most advanced technologies and higher use inputs to expand production. Other experts argue that more advanced science in the U.S. and Europe, and expanding many modern agricultural techniques in particular to Africa are critical to reducing world hunger and avoiding the need for more deforestation. This panel will discuss these points of view.

Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University; Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center; Eric Sachs, Monsanto; Moderator: Tim Searchinger, Princeton University