Politicians, pundits, and the public debate the details surrounding Earth's changing climate patterns, but science-based research provides the most credible foundation for policymakers, and the authors of CAST's new Task Force Report about Climate Change give a comprehensive appraisal of this crucial issue.

In a timely update of CAST's 2004 landmark Climate Change report, the authors examine:

• Agriculture's role in land-atmosphere exchanges of greenhouse gases (GHGs);

• The science of carbon sequestration and GHG mitigation for various sectors of U.S. agriculture;

• The consequences of any action-or inaction-in light of agriculture's role of providing necessary food, feed, and fiber.

Dignitaries, media, and stakeholders will have a chance to learn about the Task Force's findings during an October 12th morning session at the prestigious World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.

This 116-page report includes graphs, photos, tables, and a large number of literature citations, but a statement early in the paper makes the key point clear: "Emissions of CO2, CH4, and N20 from agriculture are the result of both human-induced and natural processes in the ecosystem .... they can be lowered through modified land use and management."

The 22 eminent authors give detailed scientific explanations, but they also take an honest look at the causes of GHG emissions, how they might be managed, and what the consequences might be-environmentally, economically, and from a policy standpoint.

Their detailed scientific explanations and analyses cover many noteworthy points, including:

• The fact that concentrations of GHG/CO2 emissions have already increased to levels not experienced in well over 800,000 years;

• An outline of a number of practices for which increased carbon sequestration and decreased emissions of GHGs have been established or, in some cases, are presently under investigation;

• The probability that bioenergy crops done right offer opportunities for providing GHG benefits.

The team of eminent scientists is led by four cochairs: Ron Follett (USDA-ARS-NPA), Sian Mooney (Boise State University), Jack Morgan (USDA-ARS-NPA), and Keith Paustian (Colorado State University).

Although they focus on agriculture's role in climate change, they also cover key issues in this era of economic, social, and environmental challenges.

As CAST EVP/CEO Dr. John Bonner says, "They include a wealth of background information and statistical data, but they also confront the realities and consequences of the climate change issues that are making headlines today."

Rollout Events: During the World Food Prize, October 12, 2011, 10:30 a.m., in the Ruan II Building Auditorium, presented by Ron Follett; October 31, 2011, three sessions in Washington, D.C., presented by Jack Morgan.

The full text of Task Force Report 142 is available in hard copy ($50.00, plus shipping) and electronically ($10.00 download fee) through the CAST website at www.cast-science.org.

CAST is an international consortium of scientific and professional societies, companies, and nonprofit organizations. It assembles, interprets, and communicates credible, science-based information regionally, nationally, and internationally to legislators, regulators, policymakers, the media, the private sector, and the public.

Source: Council for Agricultural Science and Technology (CAST)