LONDON, May 26 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - Climate change
discussions should focus more on food production and cutting
food waste, but a lack of knowledge is fuelling public
resistance, former U.S. President Barack Obama wrote in a major
British newspaper on Friday.
Obama said although food production is the second leading
driver of greenhouse gas emissions after energy production,
efforts to tackle climate change have largely focused on the
"People naturally understand that big smokestacks have
pollution in them – they understand air pollution, so they can
easily make the connection between energy production and
greenhouse gases," he wrote in the Guardian newspaper.
"Most people aren't as familiar with the impact of cows and
Obama, who made climate change a top priority during his
eight-year presidency, warned that no country would escape its
He said limiting the impact of food production on climate
change would require innovation from scientists and
entrepreneurs as well as funding from companies and states.
Developing smarter agriculture will include creating better
seeds as well as crops that grow with less water and crops that
grow in harsher climates, he added.
Mobile technologies that give farmers more agricultural data
– including satellite imagery and weather forecasting – will
also help them know when, where and what to plant.
"All these things can ... help us ensure that, in producing
the food that we need to feed the billions of people on this
planet, we're not destroying the planet in the process," he
Earlier this month, Obama said the actions of ordinary
people, not politicians, were key to fighting global warming.
In a similar vein, he wrote that part of the effort in
reducing climate change had to include wasting less food.
"We have to create a food culture that encourages a demand
for healthier, more sustainable food," he added.
But he admitted food was a "very emotional issue" and people
were resistant to the idea of governments telling them what to
Agriculture generates a fifth of the world's greenhouse gas
emissions, according to the U.N. Food and Agriculture
Obama's successor, President Donald Trump, doubts climate
change is man-made and vowed during his election campaign to
"cancel" the 2015 Paris Agreement to combat climate change.
He has postponed a planned decision on whether the United
States will stay in or leave the accord until after a G7 summit
of wealthy countries this weekend.
(Reporting by Anna Pujol-Mazzini @annapmzn, Editing by Emma
Batha. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the
charitable arm of Thomson Reuters that covers humanitarian news,
women's rights, trafficking, property rights, climate change and
resilience. Visit news.trust.org)