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Farmers adapt to climate change

A new study claims that as small farmers become more resilient towards climate change, they can reduce global CO2 emissions

There are two types of initiatives to combat global climate change. One is mitigation, which has the goal of reducing climate change. An example of this would be the switch from fossil fuels to different sources of renewable energy. The other is adaptation, which seeks of ways to adapt to current conditions, for instance through creating drought-resistant crops.

Today, 90% of climate funds go to mitigation practices. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) recently published a study that claims adaptation practices should receive more attention. More specifically, adaptation practices for small-scale rural farmers.

These practices include the restoration of areas afflicted by climate change and the instigation of environmentally friendly agricultural procedures. In addition, farmers would be provided with ways to combat unpredicted challenges like droughts and floods.

While the developed world is vastly responsible for climate change, developing countries are usually the ones to bear the brunt. Facing poverty and damaged resources, they are unable to cope with the effects of climate change.

Thus, funding for adaptation practices not only makes sense on an environmental level, but also on a humanitarian one. More resistant crops could also be a significant buffer to the growing number of people who go hungry every year and could provide a means for self-sufficiency in developing countries. 

Rural farmers should be given the appropriate measures to adjust to the repercussions of climate change. In doing so, they also have the potential to be key actors in significantly reducing global CO2 emissions.

IFAD has a goal of reducing CO2 emissions by 80 million tonnes before 2020. Their study claims that adaptation practices for smallholder farmers will account for 38% of that reduction. 

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