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Source: Chuck Rice, 785-532-2712, cwrice@k-state.edu
http://www.k-state.edu/media/mediaguide/bios/ricebio.html
News release prepared by: Jennifer Torline, 785-532-0847, jtorline@k-state.edu

Friday, Dec. 3, 2010

PROFESSOR TO PARTICIPATE IN U.N. CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE

MANHATTAN -- A Kansas State University professor will be in the company of international agricultural and environmental leaders when he attends the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun, Mexico.

Chuck Rice, university distinguished professor of soil microbiology, will participate in several workshops, lectures and side events held in connection with the Conference of the Parties, COP16, meetings, which started Nov. 29 and run through Dec. 10. Rice also is attending Agriculture and Rural Development Day Saturday, Dec. 4, and will help lead a workshop Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Agriculture Day will involve more than 500 scientists, agricultural producers and policymakers in discussions surrounding agriculture's impact on climate change and how agriculture can adapt while still supporting food security.

"In the current negotiations agriculture has kind of been left out of the climate change discussions," Rice said. "There is a growing awareness, particularly among the agriculture sector, that climate change is going to challenge our food security globally and that agriculture has a role in mitigation."

Rice pointed to agricultural concerns in developing countries, where projected changes in climate will affect areas that are already under stress because of climate or poor soils. Such countries also have the least opportunity to adapt because of their economic situations.

Rice is participating in the COP16 meetings because of his involvement with a project titled "The Technical Working Group on Agriculture Greenhouse Gases," or T-AGG.

The project is a partnership between K-State and the Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions at Duke University, and has received funding from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to provide the necessary scientific foundation for creating methods that support greenhouse gas mitigation in agriculture.

Project leaders will host a booth at Agriculture Day, and they are leading a workshop Dec. 7, "Terrestrial GHGs and Climate Mitigation: Developments in Science, Economics and Policy."

At the workshop Rice will talk about management of agricultural lands and how international policies and incentives can encourage agriculture and mitigation strategies. Examples of such strategies include nitrogen management or conservation tillage, which provides enhanced soil quality by helping to store additional carbon.

K-State has already established itself as a national leader in research surrounding climate change and agriculture, but COP16 events give Rice the chance to talk about the university's efforts on an international basis.

"I've already had some early discussions of how K-State can get involved with some of the international efforts," Rice said. "I hope to learn what other groups are doing around the world and where K-State can contribute. I hope there will be some opportunities for further research, but also for exchange of faculty and students."

Rice was a member of the 2007 Nobel Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and performs research in areas involving agriculture mitigation and soil carbon sequestration. He is also leading a $20-million National Science Foundation EPSCoR project that focuses on development, adaption and mitigation strategies for Kansas and for agriculture.