Climate Smart Agriculture Policy

Diagram of climate smart agriculture focal areas
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This is a collaborative project between CEPB and the UC Davis World Food Center, and former WFC director Dr. Josette Lewis. 

This project describes and summarizes California's adoption of "climate smart agriculture" (CSA) policies and programs. We illustrate how synergies and trade-offs are addressed in a policy framework that spans regulatory measures, incentive programs, research, and technological development, that is both climate specific and arising from other simultaneous environmental and economic priorities.

Climate smart agriculture (CSA) provides a framework for balancing multiple dimensions of agriculture and food systems in an era of climate change: addressing agricultural contributions to global greenhouse gas emissions, vulnerabilities to climate change impacts, and the relationship between agricultural productivity, incomes and food security.

Policy narratives around CSA have sought to amplify the “triple wins” of CSA— suggesting that climate smart practices simultaneously achieve mitigation of GHGs, increase resilience or adaptation, and increase productivity. Agriculture and food systems however, are complex systems with many agroecological and sociopolitical interdependencies. In many cases, there are necessary tradeoffs among the three CSA objectives, as advancement in one area may negatively impact another. Therefore, a major challenge to implementing CSA across multiple places and contexts  lies in the coordination of policies and programs that recognize these tradeoffs and allow for prioritization or reconciliation among the three objectives when there are conflicts.


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