Klimagune Workshop 2014
The Klimagune Workshop is a science-policy forum on Climate Change, open to all agents in the Basque Science and Technology Network as well as to other social agents interested in climate change. The aim of this initiative is to share knowledge, new ideas and developments in terms of scientific and policy advancements on climate change. It is aimed at strengthening the synergies and cooperation among research groups, organisations and various administrative bodies that address climate change issues in the Basque Country. Since its first edition four years ago, more than 300 people have participated in this annual event. To date the Klimagune Workshop has launched four crosscutting themes, including, adaptation strategies in the Basque Country, the Green economy and transitions towards sustainability.
The fifth edition of the Klimagune will focus on the “Opportunities and challenges for rural areas in the context of climate change” and will take place on the 4th of December, at the Bizkaia Aretoa in Bilbao.
The event will consist of various activities. There will be a plenary session where various Keynote speakers, of considerable international renown, will reflect about the main topic. There will also be an opportunity for researchers to present their work as well as a round-table discussion that will include policy makers.
OPPORTUNITIES AND CHALLENGES FOR RURAL AREAS IN THE CONTEXT OF CLIMATE CHANGE
Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity, and it must be dealt with in a global coordinated fashion. A large part of attention to climate change has focused on the industrial sector and urban areas, with less recognition to the role played by the rural environment both as a source of climate change as well as a fragile social-ecological system where the dire impacts of climate change are expected to affect a large share of the world population. The economic activities in rural areas are also part of the solution to the current global climate situation and to the necessary transition towards climate smart societies.
Fourteen percent of all greenhouse gas emissions worldwide come from agriculture, while deforestation is responsible for 18% of total emissions, largely used for the purposes of unsustainable livestock breeding. In addition to being a key sector with regard to mitigation strategies, the rural environment is also an essential element in adapting to climate change. Agriculture must incorporate different processes of adapting to climate change and its effects, which include longer periods of drought and a higher frequency of extreme phenomena. Livestock breeding too must radically modify its methods and rhythms. It is therefore necessary to address effective and equitable strategies of adaptation to these impacts, in order to be able to guarantee the supply of food and raw materials to a growing population expected to reach 9.7 billion people by 2050. Climatic variability and extreme phenomena make the rural environment particularly vulnerable due to the strong dependence of its means of adaptation on the health of its ecosystems.
The agriculture, livestock and forestry sectors will therefore have a key role to play to guarantee land-use options that are resilient and sustainable from a social, environmental and economic point of view. Investment in knowledge from diverse scientific disciplines need to be strengthened and further integrated to face the challenge. This will allow us to better design public policies, including the Common Agricultural Policy and the incentives developed within it in order to face up to the challenges in the context of Europe. Likewise, it is necessary to better understand the role that the rural environment will play in ecological changes and impacts on biodiversity.
In this context of change, the rural environment is suffering global migration exodus to cities, thereby radically changing the structure of our societies. Although the greater human density of cities may favour coordinated public policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it also generates new challenges and may have negative consequences on the understanding of nature-society relationships which affect our behaviour as citizens, consumers and producers of goods and services. New rural life models and land-use planning also have their part to play in the transition and transformation of socio-economic models in the face of climate change.
The fifth edition of the Klimagune Workshop aims to analyse the importance of the rural environment around us in the context of climate change and to explore the opportunities and challenges that exist in different areas such as: (1) farming and livestock systems; (2) forestry management; (3) energy, transport and other sectors associated to the rural environment; (4) human behaviour, education and the role of public policies; (5) urban-rural duality and new socio-ecological land-use planning models. This edition invites researchers and decision-makers to contribute and compare their reflections and analyses (theoretical and empirical alike) to allow constructive debate at the heart of Basque society in order to discern the challenges, opportunities and barriers of the rural world and therefore identify sustainable solutions to the global problem of climate change.
A scientific committee has been set up for this year’s Klimagune Workshop 2014 with a view to including those aspects required to imbue this new initiative with a multi-disciplinary approach and a Call for proposals has been launched. We encourage all researchers working on climate change in the Basque Science and Technology Network to submit their proposals and participate in the Klimagune Workshop with their contributions.
Communication will be especially relevant in the Klimagune Workshop. The initiative will serve as a showcase for the dissemination of the papers of the researchers involved.
Ikerbasque Research Professor at Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3)
General Coordinator of Klimagune 2014