The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Paul Towers,, 916-216-1082 or 808-206-8868

IPCC Report Underscores Need for Global Sustainable Agriculture


The prestigious United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its latest report this week, detailing how governments can avert the most severe consequences of climate change, if they act quickly and decisively. The report -- authored by over 200 scientists from 58 countries and approved by the 195 member IPCC -- states that global greenhouse gas emissions (GGE) have risen to unprecedented levels in the past decade, putting the planet on course for an increase in global mean temperature within the next few decades that could prove disastrous on many counts.

Agriculture both contributes to GGE (and thus climate change) and has the potential to mitigate, or decrease those emissions. The IPCC confirms that agriculture is responsible for nearly one quarter of human-caused global GGE and over half of non-CO2 GGE. The use of synthetic chemical fertilizers is expected to become one of the greatest sources of agricultural GGE over the next 10 years, following livestock sources, if we do not significantly change how we farm.

Dr. Marcia Ishii-Eiteman, senior scientist with Pesticide Action Network, commented:

"The IPCC's latest report on climate change is a ringing wake-up call for the world. The stakes have never been higher for our planet and for the food and agricultural systems on which we depend. We must change course. Replenishing organic soils will be a critical part of the solution in agriculture, and this can be done in many ways. A growing body of scientific evidence shows us that biodiversified ecological agriculture enables farmers to establish not only healthy soils, but also the ecologically resilient, productive and profitable farming systems best-suited to handling the challenges of increasing droughts, floods, new pests and extreme weather events associated with climate change.

The IPCC findings underscore a critical point for our national policymakers: ecological farming techniques that restore organic soils are among the most cost-effective ways available to mitigate (decrease) the devastating greenhouse gas emissions caused by deforestation and poor land management practices frequently associated with industrialized livestock and agricultural production. Through agroecological farming, we can cool down our planet, feed the world, give farmers a profitable living and restore critical ecosystem functions. The only question remaining is: will we?"

PANNA (Pesticide Action Network North America) works to replace pesticide use with ecologically sound and socially just alternatives. As one of five autonomous PAN Regional Centers worldwide, we link local and international consumer, labor, health, environment and agriculture groups into an international citizens' action network. This network challenges the global proliferation of pesticides, defends basic rights to health and environmental quality, and works to ensure the transition to a just and viable society.