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Published December 15, 2009, 09:58 PM

N.D. Farmers Union president speaks at climate conference

Robert Carlson, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, is returning today from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which ends Friday.

By: Stephen J. Lee, Grand Forks Herald

Robert Carlson, president of the North Dakota Farmers Union, is returning today from the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, which ends Friday.

Carlson has been posting short audio messages regularly on the NDFU Web site, at www.ndfu.org.

The first week of the conference, which began Dec. 7, was referred to as “Ag Week,” Carlson said in a news release.

Despite Denmark being a small nation, travel has been an issue for Carlson.

He’s been staying a long way from the conference, which attracted 15,000 leaders from 192 nations, Farmers Union officials said. Carlson has said it has been taking him 90 minutes each way to get to and from his hotel from the conference.

Carlson has said in his daily messages that agriculture leaders at the conference have been united in talking about the importance of linking food security to the focus on reported dangers of climate change.

If, as some project, the world’s population will increase by 50 percent to 9 billion people by 2050, the role of agriculture will become even more critical simply to feed them, Carlson said.

And, he said, whatever one’s views on climate change, for farmers many of the proposed responses could be good business. He said the natural process of agriculture is growing plants that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and “fix” it in the soil.

Carlson gave presentations Friday and Saturday and spoke earlier at the first plenary session of the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technology Advice.

In that address, he urged the use of farming practices, such as no-till farming, manure management, planting grasses and trees and the development of biofuels as quick and inexpensive ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to NDFU news release.

He’s representing the International Federation of Ag Producers at the conference.

U.S Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack also is attending the conference, Carlson said.

Reach Lee at (701) 780-1237; (800) 477-6572, ext. 237; or send e-mail to slee@gfherald.com

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