Learning to adapt with flexibility

We can project what might happen with the climate in the future, but to avoid the worst predictions we have to start work today. Photo: Amigomac.

“Imagining the world at the end of the century is like imagining the evolution of communications 40 years ago “stated Walter Baethgen at the P2.3 conference session on improving adaptation to climate change for sustainable development in the agricultural sector of Uruguay at the GCARD2.

In order to improve adaptation we need to foresee climate change, and the best way of doing this, according to Baethgen, is through climate models.  Some of this plausible scenarios paint quite optimistic pictures, while others are rather pessimistic.

“By the end of the century the global temperature will raise from 1 to 6 degrees and precipitation uncertainties will be even worse” says Baethgen. “To address this threats climate change has to be seen as a problem of the present, not of the future” he adds.

In the particular case of Uruguay, the country has been trying a different approach by doing precisely this, says Baethgen, treating the problem as an urgent one that has to be dealt with night now.  This can only be done by learning to adapt to current climate variability that will consequently lead to less vulnerable societies today.

However, there’s still a broad gap between science and its actual applications related to:

– The holistic approach of decision makers to the problems

– The scientific traditional approach that tends to create “islands of knowledge”

For Beathgen, in order to make this plan work, capacity building is a must.  Information has to be easily accessible and understandable for farmers. At the same time, warning and response systems to climatic changes have to be well established. And last but not least, partnership with CCAFS and other international institutes is of prime importance to make a real difference for the future.

Blogpost by Carolina Minchiotti, one of the GCARD2 social reporters.