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Monday, October 28, 2013
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USDA’s Climate Change Director to Talk About Changing Food Systems

By Guest Author, Verner Wilson III, Yale F&ES '15

A changing climate will mean big changes in our agriculture and forestry systems that will affect every American, and that’s why the US Department of Agriculture has an office devoted specifically to analyzing and taking action to minimize the negative impacts of climate change. Bill Hohenstein, director of USDA’s Climate Change Office, will discuss how USDA approaches that mission Tuesday, October 29. His talk, which begins at 6:00 PM in Kroon Hall’s Burke Auditorium, is free and open to the public.

Earlier this year, under Mr. Hohenstein’s leadership, the USDA released a report that underscored the negative effects that climate changewill bring to US food systems.  While USDA says that changes must be assessed at a regional and local scale, the changes will be felt throughout the US.  For example, in an interview with US News in April, Mr. Hohenstein said that a changing climate will cause more “miserable days” for farmers and ranchers in the Southwest US. That’s because an increase in the misery index, which is a combination of temperature and humidity, will mean hotter temperatures that can kill crops and livestock dependent on cooler temperatures.  Miserable days also will mean higher prices for food that consumers buy at the grocery store.

Mr. Hohenstein serves as a liaison to thirteen federal agencies, serves as a US representative during international climate negotiations, and provides recommendations to America’s top leaders on climate change adaptation and mitigation. The Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy and the Yale Climate and Energy Institute are pleased to host him during as part of their fall 2013 speaker series: From Mitigation to Adaptation: Regional Responses to Climate Change.

Verner Wilson, III, is a first-year Master of Environmental Management candidate at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. He is originally from Bristol Bay, Alaska, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies in 2008 from Brown University. He previously worked for the World Wildlife Fund, as well as a coalition of Alaska Native tribes, on issues related to sustainable wild salmon fisheries, environmental justice, mining, oil and gas, and climate change.

Posted in: Energy & Climate

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