Princeton University Logo    User Account

You are here

Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet: Conference Schedule

Symposium: Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainability

In keeping with Princeton's directive to think about sustainability when making printing decisions, PEI will provide schedules but not printed programs at the symposium and conference. Please feel free to print out the schedules and speaker bios that correspond to the events you are attending.

These events are sponsored by the Princeton Environmental Institute (PEI), and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and co-sponsored by the University Center for Human Values and Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Wednesday, April 29  |  Thursday, April 30   |   Wednesday, April 29

Wednesday, April 29

Symposium: Agricultural Biotechnology and Sustainability

Morning Program
Carl Fields Center

8:30–8:45 a.m. Welcome

Shanthu Shantharam, Visiting Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

8:45-9:30 a.m. Keynote Address

“Crop Biotechnology for Sustainable Agriculture and Environmental Protection”

Maarten Chrispeels, Professor of Biology, University of California-San Diego; Director of the San Diego Center for Molecular Agriculture

Chair: Shanthu Shantharam, Visiting Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

9:30-9:45 a.m. Coffee Break

9:45-11:15 a.m. Plenary Session I

“Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security: What Role Can Biotechnology Play?”

Chair: Tim Searchinger, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute, Woodrow Wilson School, and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School and the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University

9:45-10:15 a.m.  The Economic and Health Impacts of GM Crops in South Africa, India, and China

Carl Pray, Professor of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University

10:15-11:35 a.m.  The Failed Promise of Agricultural Biotechnology

Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety, Washington, DC

11:35 a.m.-12:00 p.m. GM Crops are Inherently Synergistic to Sustainable Agriculture

Autar Mattoo, Sustainable Agriculture Systems Laboratory, USDA, ARS

12:00-12:25 p.m. Ethical Challenges to the Adoption of Technologies

David Castle, Associate Professor of Philosophy, University of Ottawa

12:30-1:00 p.m.  Panel Discussion I

Moderator: Sophie Meunier, Research Scholar and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School, Princeton University

Panelists:
Bill Freese, Center for Food Safety, Washington, DC
Autar Mattoo, Sustainable Agriculture Systems Laboratory, USDA, ARS
Prabhu Pingali, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Carl Pray, Professor of Agriculture, Food and Resource Economics, Rutgers University Howard Shapiro, Director of Plant Science and External Research, Mars Incorporated

1:00-2:00 p.m. Lunch

"Control of Human Biosphere: Past, Present and Future"

Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University


Afternoon Program
Carl Fields Center

2:00-4:00 p.m. Plenary Session II

"How to Regulate Biotechnology to Maximize Benefits and Minimize Risks?"

Chair: Shanthu Shantharam, Visiting Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

2:00-2:20 p.m. Potential of Biotech Crops in Sustainable, Small-Scale Agriculture: A Social Science Perspective, Melinda Smale, Oxfam America

2:20-2:40 p.m. The Need for Responsible Governance in the Implementation of Agricultural Biotechnologies, Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign, India

2:40-3:00 p.m. The Scientific Basis for Agbiotech Regulation, Wayne Parrott, University of Athens, Georgia

3:00-3:30 p.m. How Much Regulatory Oversight Is Really Appropriate for Agriculture Biotechnology?, Henry Miller, Research Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford University

3:30-4:00 p.m. Panel Discussion II

Moderator: Lee Silver, Professor of Molevular Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Panel Discussion:
Sharon Bomer, Vice President for Food and Agriculture, Biotechnology Industry Organization
Henry Miller, Research Fellow, Hoover Institute, Stanford University
Wayne Parrott, University of Athens, Georgia
Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign, India
Melinda Smale, Oxfam America

4:00-4:15 p.m. Coffee Break

4:15-5:20 p.m. Plenary Session III

"Can Biotechnology Aid Agriculture to Cope with Effects of Climate Change?"

Chair: Xenia Morin, Lecturer in Princeton Writing Program and the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University

4:15-4:35 p.m. African Green Revolution Moves Forward, Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University

4:35-5:00 p.m. Developing Drought Resistant Crops: Possibilities and Realities, Eric Sachs, Monsanto Company

5:00-5:20 p.m. Biofortification of Staple Cropsto Improve Public Health, Howarth Bouis, IFPRI, Washington, DC

5:20-6:00 p.m. Panel Discussion III

Moderator: Shanthu Shantharam, Visiting Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Panelists:
Rattan Lal, Professor of Natural Sciences, Ohio State University
Pedro Sanchez, Director, Tropical Agriculture and the Rural Environment Program, The Earth Institute, Columbia University
Eric Sachs, Global Lead, Scientific Affairs, Monsanto
Tim Searchinger, Associate Research Scholar, Princeton Environmental Institute, Woodrow Wilson School, and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School and the Princeton Environmental Institute, Princeton University

6:00 p.m. Closing Remarks

Shanthu Shantharam, Visiting Research Scholar in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Program in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy; Visiting Lecturer in Public and International Affairs, Princeton University

Lee Silver, Professor of Molecular Biology and Public Affairs, Princeton University


Thursday, April 30

Conference, Day 1: Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet: The Challenge of Making More Food and Fewer Greenhouse Gases

Morning Session
The Challenge of Feeding Nine Billion People Well
Location: McCosh 10

8:15 a.m. Continental Breakfast

8:30-8:45 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

8:45-10:15 a.m. Panel: Understanding the Challenges of Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet

This panel will provide an overview of the greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture and their sources, including deforestation from agricultural expansion, methane from rice and livestock and nitrous oxide from fertilizer. The panel will also address the need for expanded food production to feed a growing population that eats better, the potential increased emissions associated with that expanded production, the competition with land for biofuels and other demands, and the constraints on expanded food production from available water.

David Tilman, University of Minnesota; Jerry Mellilo, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory; Michael Obersteiner, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

10:15-10:30 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.-noon Panel: How Can We Feed the Hungry While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

This panel will discuss the prospects for increasing food production, particularly to meet the needs of the world’s malnourished, while avoiding deforestation. It will discuss the prospects for additional yield increases and the lessons from the Green Revolution, and the particular challenge of increasing rice production while decreasing emissions from the associated methane.

Jonathan Foley, University of Minnesota; Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University

Noon-1:00 p.m. Lunch


Keynote

Location: McCosh 50

1–1:45 p.m. Thoughts from an Organic Entrepreneur

Gary Hirshberg, CEO, Stonyfield Farm


Afternoon Session
Dietary Choices, Out on the Range and the Fertilizer Quandry
Location: McCosh 50

2-3:30 p.m. Panel: Out on the Range—The Dilemma Surrounding More Livestock and Pasture

The world’s grazing land more than doubles the world’s cropland, and expansion of grazing land into tropical forests is occurring at twice the rate of cropland expansion. Grazing lands are simultaneously seen as sources of carbon sequestration, potential areas for reforestation or biofuel production, and areas that can be enhanced to boost livestock yields. At the same time, livestock digestion and their manure are large sources of greenhouse gases and could grow. This panel will discuss the implications of dietary choices, and issues regarding future livestock and grazing land management to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Henning Steinfeld, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations; Gidon Eshel, Bard University; Discussant: Michael Obersteiner, International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis

3:30-3:45 p.m. Coffee Break

3:45-5 p.m. Panel: The Quandary over Fertilizer—How Do We Feed Our Crops While Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions?

Nitrous oxide generated by the use of fertilizer production and use and nitrogen fixation by crops is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, and the IPCC projects large increases in emissions as food production increases. What are the technical and policy alternatives for reducing these emissions?

Timothy LaSalle, The Rodale Institute; Tracy Blackmer, Iowa Soybean Association; David Castle, University of Ottawa; Discussant: Jerry Mellilo, Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory

Late Afternoon Final Thoughts: Forest Successes?

5-5:30 p.m. Can We Make More Room for Forests? A Success Story

A few countries have succeeded in recent years in increasing its forest cover while dramatically boosting yields. How has this worked and what are the lessons for addressing world deforestation?

Eric Lambin, University of Louvain

5:45-7:45 p.m. Dinner at Prospect House for Panelists and Invited Faculty


Evening Debate
Slow Food vs. High Tech Food—Which is the Path to a Cooler Planet?
Location: McCosh 50

8-9:30 p.m. A Debate over Low-Input Food vs. High-Input Food

In the United States and around the world, advocates of “slow food,” organic food and sustainable agriculture have challenged the dominant model of agricultural production based on use of the most advanced technologies and higher use inputs to expand production. Other experts argue that more advanced science in the U.S. and Europe, and expanding many modern agricultural techniques in particular to Africa are critical to reducing world hunger and avoiding the need for more deforestation. This panel will discuss these points of view.

Pedro Sanchez, Columbia University; Charles Benbrook, The Organic Center; Eric Sachs, Monsanto; Moderator: Tim Searchinger, Princeton University


Friday, May 1

Conference, Day 2: Feeding a Hot and Hungry Planet: The Challenge of Making More Food and Fewer Greenhouse Gases

Morning Session
Saving Our Hot and Hungry Planet
Location: McCormick 101

8:30-9 a.m. Continental Breakfast

9-10:15 a.m. Panel: Saving Our Soils—How Can We Get Carbon Back into the World’s Soils?

The world’s soil carbon exceeds the carbon in the atmosphere and plants combined. Cropping and overgrazing have caused large losses of soil carbon and the IPCC has identified changes in tillage practices and other efforts to sequester carbon in soils as the source of 90% of the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. New science has questioned the benefits of some changes in tillage practices but has also introduced new ideas, such as biochar. At the same time, soil degradation reduces agricultural production in many parts of the world. This panel will discuss issues involved with reversing soil degradation and increasing soil carbon sequestration.

Rattan Lal, Ohio State University; Cheryl Palm, Columbia University; Debbie Reed, DRD Associates; Discussant: Timothy LaSalle, The Rodale Institute

10:15-10:30 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m.-noon. Panel: Improving Our Agricultural Policies

Both the United States and the world appear to be moving toward a cap and trade system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. In New Zealand, where agriculture emits roughly half of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions, there have been proposals to impose these caps on agriculture. In the U.S., bills have called instead for other regulated sources to be able to purchase greenhouse gas credits by paying agricultural interests to reduce their emissions. Fundamental questions of involving unregulated sources in a cap and trade scheme include: whether these reductions can be accurately measured, will they be permanent, how can a system assure these reductions are in addition to reductions that would occur anyway and how to account for the potential of some reduction efforts to trigger other emissions known as leakage. Meanwhile, a variety of world dialogues are going on by which large purchasers of agricultural products are beginning to commit or are contemplating imposing conditions on agricultural producers to meet their purchasing requirements, and some major food purchasers are imposing conditions of their own. This panel will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of these various strategies.

Debbie Reed, DRD Associates; Tim Searchinger, Princeton University

Noon-1 p.m. Lunch


Afternoon Session
Taking a Global Approach—Can International Assistance Programs Provide Incentives?
Location: McCormick 101

1-2 p.m. Panel: What Works in the Developing World? Stories about Agricultural Research and Development Aid

At the high point of food prices in the spring of 2008, many world leaders called for large increases in world agricultural assistance to developing nations and a major rejuvenation of research programs. So far, this funding has yet to come forward. Previous aid programs have supporters and critics. This panel will discuss these issues.

P.K. Joshi, TERI University; Suman Sahai, Gene Campaign; Shanthu Shantharam, Princeton University

2-3 p.m. Panel: Roundtable Discussion

Conference Speakers discuss presentations and what most needs to happen next.

3-3:15 p.m. Closing Remarks

Steve Pacala, Frederick D. Petrie Professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.
Director, Princeton Environmental Institute.