New WRI research finds that in order to help secure a sustainable food future, cropland expansion should be limited to lands with "low environmental opportunity costs."
creating a sustainable food future
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Ten
Installment 10 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future proposes a definition for lands with low environmental opportunity cost. From there, it offers recommendations for how any new cropland expansion can be directed toward these lands.
Today, the United States Department of Agriculture and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the country’s first-ever goal for reducing food waste. The goal calls for a target of reducing food waste by 50% by 2030.
Biofuels and bioenergy take up finite land resources at the cost of food production and carbon storage and doesn’t guarantee carbon emissions cuts.
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Nine
Installment 9 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future shows that any dedicated use of land for growing bioenergy inherently comes at the cost of not using that land for growing food or animal feed, or for storing carbon.
It recommends several...
A new WRI paper finds bioenergy can play a modest role using wastes and other niche fuelstocks, but recommends against dedicating land to produce bioenergy.
The lesson: do not grow food or grass crops for ethanol or diesel or cut down trees for electricity.
A new WRI working paper finds that reducing flooding in rice paddies can dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and can also help conserve water and boost yields.
Creating a Sustainable Food Future, Installment Eight
Installment 8 of Creating a Sustainable Food Future explores the potential to improve water management in rice production in order to reduce agricultural...
The UN proposed 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to eradicate extreme poverty, placing economic transformation and environmental sustainability at the center of the agenda. WRI and 10 other institutes in the Independent Research Forum (IRF) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda organized discussions with negotiators of the UN Open Working Group on SDGs and provided recommendations.
At the 2012 UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), governments concluded that the world needed a more ambitious, universal global development agenda after the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) expire in 2015. To meet the challenge of eradicating poverty and expanding the global economy while protecting the environment, the new agenda needed to go beyond the MDGs to more deeply engage the private sector, local governments and civil society. Reaching such a consensus on this complex, politically charged issue required that negotiators shift from the formal UN process to substantive discussions about a strengthened successor to the MDGs.
WRI and 10 other institutes in the Independent Research Forum (IRF) on the Post-2015 Development Agenda organized a series of informal retreats for negotiators of the UN Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), together with other UN Member States and senior UN officials. The retreats created a safe space to discuss the complex, potentially divisive questions of how to make the goals apply to all countries, and how to integrate social, economic and environmental sustainability. WRI’s analysis and facilitation, together with IRF, helped provide an opportunity for dialogue rather than negotiations, and allowed participants to test ideas and identify solutions. WRI’s project teams also gave regular input, providing concrete recommendations on global targets for sustainable food systems, energy, water, terrestrial ecosystems, oceans, climate change, cities, sustainable growth, sustainable consumption and production, and governance.
The Open Working Group Outcome Document, adopted in July 2014, proposes 17 ambitious SDGs. The SDGs mark a shift from the MDGs, aiming to eradicate extreme poverty in all its forms and placing economic transformation and environmental sustainability on equal footing at the center of the agenda. All countries will need to take action to implement the agenda, and civil society and the private sector will also be critical to the SDGs’ success. With one more year until the SDGs are due to be adopted at a UN Summit in September 2015, WRI stands ready to continue its support.
The world is on a path to need almost 70 percent more crops in 2050 than those it produced in 2006. To close that crop gap without large price increases or clearing more valuable forests and savannas, yields are going to have to grow 33 percent more in the next 44 years than they did in the last 44.
Using advances in molecular biology to breed better crops can sustainably secure more of the global food supply.