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SciDev.Net podcast: African farmers mitigate emissions

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Livestock farming is the largest land use system on Earth. It uses 30 per cent of the world’s ice-free surface and sustains about 1.3 billion people.

But livestock is also responsible for 14.5 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans, of which cattle produce 65 per cent. Better cattle management is vital to improve productivity while reducing emissions.
 
In Kenya, researchers are working with smallholder farmers to determine the impact of this form of land use and improve cattle and crop management. We discover how better practices can reduce farmers’ carbon footprint.
 
Next in the podcast, we hear an update on earthquake stricken Nepal, where the monsoon is hindering reconstruction efforts and putting people and buildings at risk in a nation where thousands are now homeless.
 
Climate change can increase the severity of extreme weather events that worsen the impacts of earthquakes and other natural disasters. Communities must adopt adaptation strategies to survive. But humans are not alone in the struggle: plants and animals have to cope too. We hear about adaptation in the natural world and learn why changing biodiversity patterns may ultimately also affect humans.
 
Finally, we shed light on a controversial climate change response set of technologies. So-called negative emission technologies aim to suck carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and store it underground. But they come with a set of hurdles, from high costs to different environmental hazards. Economists and analysts are calling for a global deployment of such technologies, but many believe that a stronger push on mitigation offers a safer way to curb emissions.
 
This month’s reporters are:
Kevin Pollock @KPstraightupG
Sophie Mbugua @Smbuguah


References

Mario Herrero and others, Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, December 2013.
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