More: Watch live webcasts from the U.S. Center at COP-16.
About the Author: Sarah Goldfarb serves as DipNote's Associate Editor. Sarah will be providing information from presentations about key climate programs and scientific research at the U.S. Center at the 16th Session of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP-16) in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 through December 10, 2010.
The United States is supporting climate change mitigation programs in developing countries through the Global Research Alliance (GRA) Borlaug Fellowship Program. The program sponsors scientists from Chile, India, Malaysia, Ghana, Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam to come to the United States to conduct agricultural mitigation research. At the U.S. Center on December 8, William Hohenstein of the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced some of the Fellows and highlighted how the GRA Fellowships increase international cooperation, collaboration, and investment in research activities to find ways to produce more food with fewer emissions.
Dr. Adlul Islam, a GRA Borlaug Fellow from India, stressed that climate change is one of the biggest issues confronting humanity in the 21st century. He first highlighted some basic statistics about India, which has slightly more than two percent of the world's land, four percent of the world's freshwater resources, 16 percent of the world's population, and 17 percent of the world's cattle population. He referred to several studies that show temperatures, as well as the number of hot days and heat waves, have increased in India. In addition, droughts and heavy precipitation events like floods have become more common.
Dr. Islam's research focuses on the impacts of climate change on basin hydrology and regional water availability on Indian agriculture. His proposed study aims at developing a model that integrates hydrology, crop growth, water demand, and socio-economics under a unified set of climate change scenarios for water management. He believes that this framework will assist policymakers and other stakeholders to understand the impact of climate change on water resources availability and agricultural production, as well as prepare appropriate adaptation strategies.
In closing, Dr. Hohenstein said the USDA is excited about this program. He said, “It's only fitting that we're using this fellowship to collaborate with other countries by bringing scientists together to work in partnership to improve food productivity and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.” Dr. Keith Paustian of Colorado State University said, “The program facilitates knowledge and the cross-fertilization of ideas. The understanding of this knowledge will help us meet these pressing, global challenges.”
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