MANAGEMENT OF AGRICULTURAL AND NATURAL RESOURCE SYSTEMS TO REDUCE ATMOSPHERIC EMISSIONS AND INCREASE RESILIENCE TO CLIMATE CHANGE
Location: Soil, Water, and Air Resources Research Unit
Submitted to: Meeting Proceedings
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 2010
Publication Date: June 30, 2011
Citation: In Sauer, T.J., et al. (ed.). Sustaining Soil Productivity in Response to Global Climate Change- Science, Policy, and Ethics. Wiley-Blackwell, Chichester, UK. p. 17-18.
Interpretive Summary: An international conference was convened to discuss how to protect soils from climate change impacts so that food production in the future will be not be limited by poor soil quality. A group of scientists with widely varying backgrounds from philosophy to atmospheric science presented papers and held discussions on how climate change will impact soil productivity and what steps need to be taken to prevent soil degradation. Part of the discussion focused on ethical questions regarding what individual and societal responsibilities are and what the consequences may be for nations failing to act or to meet their commitments on climate change agreements. Papers drafted from the presentations are being published as chapters in a book. This information is of interest to scientists and policymakers interest in the interaction of science, ethics, and policy in the area of global climate change.
In the summer of 2009 an interdisciplinary group of leading scientists from 11 countries assembled on the shores of Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin for a three-day conference on sustaining soil productivity in response to global climate change. Although there have been numerous conferences on climate change, the unique perspective of this conference was the focus on maintaining or enhancing soil productivity and in particular the ethical implications of policies intended to ameliorate climate change effects. The integrated nature of this conference created a special opportunity for scientists from widely-varying backgrounds to interact on a topic of intense mutual interest. The conference emphasized the broad sweep of issues that relate to soils and climate change: policy, philosophy, ethics, social issues, global modeling, science politics, economics, cultural adoption constraints, defining ecosystem services, bureaucratic conflicts, and of course intellectual inertia. The dynamism and constructive nature of the discussions from such a diverse group showed that interested parties can dialog constructively on this broad playing field.