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The Challenge of Contact: A Mainstream Journalist's Report on Interplanetary Diplomacy

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Pressing Issues

Exopolitical Challenges and Protocols for Future Contact. Description Details. Related Items. By: Blum, Ralph and Judy. By: Crissey, Brian L. By: Fawcett, Bill. Whether such reductions in emission intensity result in lower or higher absolute GHG emissions depends on overall demand for livestock products, indicating the relevance of integrating supply-side with demand-side measures within food security objectives Gerber et al.

Transitions in livestock production systems e. Overall, there is high agreement that farm strategies that integrate mixed crop—livestock systems can improve farm productivity and have positive sustainability outcomes Havet et al. Shifting towards mixed crop—livestock systems is estimated to reduce agricultural adaptation costs to 0. Evidence from various regions supports this Thornton and Herrero, , although the feasible scale varies between regions and systems, as well as being moderated by overall demand in specific food products.

In Australia, some farmers have successfully shifted to crop—livestock systems where, each year, they allocate land and forage resources in response to climate and price trends Bell et al.

Executive Summary

However, there can be some unintended negative impacts of such integration, including increased burdens on women, higher requirements of capital, competing uses of crop residues e. Finally, the feasibility of improving livestock efficiency is dependent on socio-cultural context and acceptability: there remain significant issues around widespread adoption of crossbred animals, especially by smallholders Thornton et al. Irrigation efficiency. While increasing irrigation system efficiency is necessary, there is mixed evidence on how to enact efficiency improvements Fader et al.

Physical and technical strategies include building large-scale reservoirs or dams, renovating or deepening irrigation channels, building on-farm rainwater harvesting structures, lining ponds, channels and tanks to reduce losses through percolation and evaporation, and investing in small infrastructure such as sprinkler or drip irrigation sets Varela-Ortega et al.

Each strategy has differing costs and benefits relating to unique biophysical, social, and economic contexts. Also, increasing irrigation efficiency may foster higher dependency on irrigation, resulting in a heightened sensitivity to climate that may be maladaptive in the long term Lindoso et al. Improvements in irrigation efficiency would need to be supplemented with ancillary activities, such as shifting to crops that require less water and improving soil and moisture conservation Fader et al.

Currently, the feasibility of improving irrigation efficiency is constrained by issues of replicability across scale and sustainability over time Burney and Naylor, , institutional barriers and inadequate market linkages Pittock et al. Growing evidence suggests that investing in behavioural shifts towards using irrigation technology such as micro-sprinklers or drip irrigation, is an effective and quick adaptation strategy Varela-Ortega et al. While improving irrigation efficiency is technically feasible R.

Fishman et al. The integration of trees and shrubs into crop and livestock systems, when properly managed, can potentially restrict soil erosion, facilitate water infiltration, improve soil physical properties and buffer against extreme events Lasco et al. There is medium evidence and high agreement on the feasibility of agroforestry practices that enhance productivity, livelihoods and carbon storage Lusiana et al.

Long-term studies examining the success of agroforestry, however, are rare Coe et al. The extent to which agroforestry practices employed at the farm level could be scaled up globally while satisfying growing food demand is relatively unknown. Agroforestry adoption has been relatively low and uneven Jacobi et al.

Managing food loss and waste. The way food is produced, processed and transported strongly influences GHG emissions. Food wastage is a combination of food loss — the decrease in mass and nutritional value of food due to poor infrastructure, logistics, and lack of storage technologies and management — and food waste that derives from inappropriate human consumption that leads to food spoilage associated with inferior quality or overproduction.

Food wastage could lead to an increase in emissions estimated to 1. Decreasing food wastage has high mitigation and adaptation potential and could play an important role in land transitions towards 1. There is medium agreement that a combination of individual—institutional behaviour Refsgaard and Magnussen, ; Thornton and Herrero, , and improved technologies and management Lin et al. Institutional behaviour depends on investment and policies, which if adequately addressed could enable mitigation and adaptation co-benefits in a relatively short time.

The Challenge of Contact - Extracts

Novel technologies. New molecular biology tools have been developed that can lead to fast and precise genome modification De Souza et al. Such genome editing tools may moderately assist in mitigation and adaptation of agriculture in relation to climate changes, elevated CO 2 , drought and flooding DaMatta et al. These tools could contribute to developing new plant varieties that can adapt to warming of 1. However, biosafety concerns and government regulatory systems can be a major barrier to the use of these tools as this increases the time and cost of turning scientific discoveries into ready applicable technologies Andow and Zwahlen, ; Maghari and Ardekani, The strategy of reducing enteric methane emissions by ruminants through the development of inhibitors or vaccines has already been attempted with some successes, although the potential for application at scale and in different situations remains uncertain.

A vaccine could potentially modify the microbiota of the rumen and be applicable even in extensive grazing systems by reducing the presence of methanogenic micro-organisms Wedlock et al. Selective breeding for lower-emitting ruminants is becoming rapidly feasible, offering small but cumulative emissions reductions without requiring substantial changes in farm systems Pickering et al.

Technological innovation in culturing marine and freshwater micro and macro flora has significant potential to expand food, fuel and fibre resources, and could reduce impacts on land and conventional agriculture Greene et al. Technological innovation could assist in increased agricultural efficiency e. Technological and associated management improvements may be ways to increase the efficiency of contemporary agriculture to help produce enough food to cope with population increases in a 1.

Ecosystem restoration.

Biomass stocks in tropical, subtropical, temperate and boreal biomes currently hold , , , Gt CO 2 , respectively. Conservation and restoration can enhance these natural carbon sinks Erb et al. Recent studies explore options for conservation, restoration and improved land management estimating up to 23 GtCO 2 Griscom et al.

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Mitigation potentials are dominated by reduced rates of deforestation, reforestation and forest management, and concentrated in tropical regions Houghton, ; Canadell and Schulze, ; Grace et al. Variation of costs in projects aiming to reduce emissions from deforestation is high when considering opportunity and transaction costs Dang Phan et al. However, the focus on forests raises concerns of cross-biome leakage medium evidence, low agreement Popp et al. Reducing rates of deforestation constrains the land available for agriculture and grazing, with trade-offs between diets, higher yields and food prices Erb et al.

Forest restoration and conservation are compatible with biodiversity Rey Benayas et al. There is low agreement on whether climate impacts will reverse mitigation benefits of restoration Le Page et al.

Our Scarves

Emerging regional assessments offer new perspectives for upscaling. While there are indications that land tenure has a positive impact Sunderlin et al. Local benefits, especially for indigenous communities, will only be accrued if land tenure is respected and legally protected, which is not often the case Sunderlin et al. Although payments for reduced rates of deforestation may benefit the poor, the most vulnerable populations could have limited, uneven access Atela et al.

Community-based adaptation CbA. There is medium evidence and high agreement for the use of CbA. The specific actions to take will depend upon the location, context, and vulnerability of the specific community. The integration of CbA with ecosystems-based adaptation EbA has been increasingly promoted, especially in efforts to alleviate poverty Mannke, ; Reid, Despite the potential and advantages of both CbA and EbA, including knowledge exchange, information access and increased social capital and equity; institutional and governance barriers still constitute a challenge for local adaptation efforts Wright et al.

Wetland management. In wetland ecosystems, temperature rise has direct and irreversible impacts on species functioning and distribution, ecosystem equilibrium and services, and second-order impacts on local livelihoods see Chapter 3, Section 3. The structure and function of wetland systems are changing due to climate change. Wetland management strategies, including adjustments in infrastructural, behavioural, and institutional practices have clear implications for adaptation Colloff et al.

Despite international initiatives on wetland restoration and management through the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands, policies have not been effective Finlayson, ; Finlayson et al. Institutional reform, such as flexible, locally relevant governance, drawing on principles of adaptive co-management, and multi-stakeholder participation becomes increasingly necessary for effective wetland management Capon et al. Managing coastal stress. Particularly to allow for the landward relocation of coastal ecosystems under a transition to a 1.

While the feasibility of the solutions is high, they are expensive to scale robust evidence, medium agreement. There is low evidence and high agreement that reducing the impact of local stresses Halpern et al. Approaches to reducing local stresses are considered feasible, cost-effective and highly scalable.

Ecosystem resilience may be increased through alternative livelihoods e. These options enjoy high levels of feasibility yet are expensive, which stands in the way of scalability robust evidence, medium agreement Hiwasaki et al. Working with coastal communities has the potential for improving the resilience of coastal ecosystems.

Combined with the advantages of using indigenous knowledge to guide transitions, solutions can be more effective when undertaken in partnership with local communities, cultures, and knowledge See Box 4. Restoration of coastal ecosystems and fisheries. Marine restoration is expensive compared to terrestrial restoration, and the survival of projects is currently low, with success depending on the ecosystem and site, rather than the size of the financial investment Bayraktarov et al.

Mangrove replanting shows evidence of success globally, with numerous examples of projects that have established forests Kimball et al. Efforts with reef-building corals have been attempted with a low level of success Bayraktarov et al. Technologies to help re-establish coral communities are limited Rinkevich, , as are largely untested disruptive technologies e. Current technologies also have trouble scaling given the substantial costs and investment required Bayraktarov et al.

However, this does not adequately account for post-depositional processes and could overestimate removal potentials, subject to a risk of reversal. Seagrass beds will thus not contribute significantly to enabling 1. There will be approximately 70 million additional urban residents every year through to the middle part of this century UN DESA, The majority of these new urban citizens will reside in small and medium-sized cities in low- and middle-income countries Cross-Chapter Box 13 in Chapter 5.