Biodiesel From Palm Oil: Finding the Sweet Spot Between Ecology and Economy

January 31, 2017 Guest Authors 0

Eager to replace fossil fuels with greener alternatives, the European Union and others have earmarked palm oil as a source of biodiesel. Under the EU’s Reducing Emissions from Deforestation policy, biodiesel must save 35% in emissions compared to fossil fuels. However, to supply large quantities of biodiesel would also mean intensifying by increasing the use of nitrogen fertilizer.

Backwater Blues: How Populism Reveals Rural Resentment in the US and Europe

January 30, 2017 Guest Authors 0

To explain the occurrence of rural resentment, we need to consider empirically how rural lives and places have been changing, and how rural people make sense of these changes. For this purpose, I’ll use Sweden as an example to provide empirical detail that is needed.

Just as with the recent US election, population density – not income, education, or employment – is currently the best predictor of political preference in Sweden. The countryside is vast and a home to farmers, small entrepreneurs, workers in the mineral industries and forestry, and fishers. The latter will be used as an example here to highlight how and why Swedish rural dwellers can feel resentful.

ICARDA’s Claudio Zucca: Why Dryland Soils Matter

January 27, 2017 Guest Authors 0

Claudio Zucca is Senior Soil Conservation and Land Management Specialist at the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). On the occasion of the World Soil Day we interviewed him about his experience as a soil scientist and about the challenges and importance of preserving soils in drylands.

How Agriculture Can Help Drive a Low Carbon Economy

January 27, 2017 Environmental Defense Fund 0

The Obama administration White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) recently released an intriguing report on how the United States can transition to a low-carbon economy by 2050 while continuing economic growth. The report gives a starring role in this job to agricultural lands.

“Mid-Century Strategy for Deep Decarbonization” outlines a 3-pronged strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent while accelerating job-creating innovation. Calling each strategy “critical,” CEQ first lists the familiar call to transition to renewable and low carbon forms of energy.

The second key strategy, however, is less often discussed: the potential of cropland and grassland soils, as well as forests, to store and sequester hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 annually. The report – informed by decades of scientific research – describes the opportunities to explore in this area.

New US Seafood Rule Shows Global Trade and Conservation Can Work Together

January 26, 2017 Marc Brazeau 0

On Jan. 1 the United States started enforcing a new import rule, which requires fisheries exporting seafood to the United States to protect marine mammals at standards comparable to those required for U.S. fisheries. This rule aims to leverage American market power to reduce marine mammal bycatch worldwide. It also aims to level the playing field for U.S. fishermen, who currently face monitoring costs and fishing restrictions to reduce marine mammal bycatch – unlike some of their foreign competitors.

Fish for All? The Fish-Free Fishmeal Challenge

January 24, 2017 Guest Authors 0

• The aquaculture industry is growing faster than the human population, at about eight percent each year, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.
• About 20 percent of the world’s fish goes to aquaculture, depleting wild-caught forage fish such as anchovies and krill to provide essential oils and protein for the development and growth of these cultivated foods.
• The first team to sell 100,000 metric tons of fish-free feed or, if that threshold isn’t reached, that sells the most feed by the end of the contest, on September 15, 2017, will be named the winner of the F3 challenge.

Measuring Methane Emissions From Cows is Elusive, But We’re Getting Closer

January 23, 2017 Environmental Defense Fund 0

If farmers are to mitigate methane emissions, they need to know where and under what conditions the emissions occur. And they need management options that have been proven to make a difference.

Environmental Defense Fund, thanks to a generous grant, is helping to quantify methane emissions from different management approaches. This work builds on EDF’s earlier efforts to develop good estimates of methane released through the energy sector.

The Increasingly Shaky Foundations of Industrial Agriculture

January 3, 2017 Guest Authors 0

This article from IPES-Food responds to the claims made in a essay by Øystein Heggdal from December, 2016. Through this essay, IPES-Food welcomes the opportunity to demonstrate the wealth of data underpinning IPES-Food’s June 2016 report: ‘From uniformity to diversity: a paradigm shift from industrial agriculture to diversified agroecological systems’