International efforts to diminish greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture took a significant step forward this summer when 34 countries signed the Charter for the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases.
For decades, studies by the United States and others have shown that agriculture is a significant contributor to greenhouse emissions -- through crops, farm machinery, livestock methane gas emissions, and gases released in agricultural processing. We also know that climate change will have a range of effects on agriculture and consequently on emissions.
The Global Research Alliance recognizes the fact that no single nation has all the resources needed to effect meaningful, substantive, and lasting change. The Alliance provides a framework for countries to work together and identify best practices that can mitigate agricultural emissions while continuing to meet all-important needs in food security, poverty reduction, and sustainable development.
The United States was a leading participant in the establishment of this growing alliance, and I had the honor of representing the United States of America and Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack at the Charter's signing in Rome at the end of June. I am particularly proud to note that this is the result of a ‘whole-of-government -- commitment to the goals of growing more food without increasing greenhouse gas emissions.
The United States has also supported the participation of developing countries in the Alliance through the Borlaug Fellowship program, granting Global Research Alliance Fellowships to researchers from developing countries so they can work side-by-side with American scientists on climate change research.
We have committed to something important, exemplified by President Obama himself, when he signed the U.S.-UK Higher Education, Science, and Innovation Collaboration in London in May -- a collaboration that includes a commitment to working as part of the Global Research Alliance.
Together, we will seek out new resources to better understand and mitigate climate change in an agricultural context and in so doing tackle one of the most important international challenges of our time.