From hurricanes to flooding, drought, and wildfires, the climate crisis made its presence even more obvious in 2020. And it’s clearer than ever that agriculture is a big part of the equation. This year, we sharpened our climate reporting, focusing on the potential of—and the perils of—overselling regenerative agriculture and carbon markets, the role conservation programs play in incentivizing climate-beneficial farming, and the incoming administration’s promise to act boldly on climate, including its commitment to rejoin the Paris Agreement. While there is no silver bullet, we know cutting emissions from the food system is crucial and all solutions must be explored. Here are some of our best stories this year on climate change and food.
Two States are Leading a Cover Crop Revival
Farmers in Maryland and Iowa are investing in crops that improve water quality, soil health, and build resiliency in the face of climate change.
Climate Change Will Expand Agriculture’s Reach, Solving Some Problems and Creating New Ones
As land at undeveloped latitudes and elevations becomes warmer, millions of acres could be farmed commercially for the first time. But growing food there would put biodiversity and clean water at risk while releasing massive quantities of CO2.
Plant-Based Diets and Regenerative Ag Have Sparked a Pea and Lentil Renaissance
Health and environmental concerns are driving ‘phenomenal’ growth for these humble pulse crops, which offer soil as well as dietary benefits.
A Comprehensive New Federal Roadmap for Climate Action on Farms
U.S. Representative Chellie Pingree’s Agriculture Resilience Act would incentivize and support farmers to address the climate crisis in the face of USDA inaction.
Could Changing the Way We Farm Rice Be a Climate Solution?
Farmers are on focusing on ways to reduce methane emissions and save water to further reduce the staple crop’s climate footprint.
Are Dairy Digesters the Renewable Energy Answer or a ‘False Solution’ to Climate Change?
Capturing the massive quantities of methane dairy farms emit could reduce overall carbon pollution. But critics say the effort is propping up Big Dairy.
The World Food Prize Winner Says Soil Should Have Rights
Soil scientist Dr. Rattan Lal digs deep into the power of soil to sequester carbon, mitigate climate change, and the need for a Clean Soil Act.
Could a Detroit Experiment Unleash the Power of Urban Soil?
A multi-year study underway aims to build healthy urban soil quickly at minimum cost, yielding local, fresh food and climate mitigation as a bonus.
Perennial Vegetables Are a Solution in the Fight Against Hunger and Climate Change
A new study shows the nutrition and environmental benefits of more than 600 perennial species—from artichokes to chaya—which address climate mitigation, biodiversity, and nutrition.