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963. Food System Risks Since Russian Invasion of Ukraine

Two years after Russia's invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, record-high global food prices in 2022 have reminded the international community that food production depends on global supplies of fuel and fertilizer, and that supply chain disruptions due to geopolitical conflicts can directly lead to food security risks. This has triggered a renewed awareness in the international community that food production depends on global supplies of fuel and fertilizers, and that supply chain disruptions due to geopolitical conflicts can directly lead to food security risks.

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962.JIRCAS Links Earth and Space〜New Frontier of Resilient Crops〜

The JIRCAS research on the “Development of resilient crops and production technologies” is also linked to the “Research on production of crops adapted to the space environment”.

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961. Recent Research on Tipping Points

In the Earth system, large subsystems (tipping elements) that may cross tipping points with large-scale irreversible changes due to anthropogenic activities may appear disparate but are remotely correlated, and a single change may have a domino effect. The mechanism of this phenomenon is still unknown. Although there is still much we do not know about how this works, a recent study suggests that a tipping point is approaching for the Atlantic Ocean circulation and the Amazon tropical forest.

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960. Can ChatGPT Adequately Answer Questions from African Rice Farmers?

ChatGPT, a conversational computer program powered by artificial intelligence (AI), has attracted considerable attention in recent years for its ability to learn from large amounts of text data and generate natural sentences. In sub-Saharan Africa, where there is an absolute shortage of agricultural extension workers, can AI provide adequate answers to farmers' questions? Dr. SAITO Kazuki and a team of researchers at IRRI have published in Scientific Reports the results of a study evaluating ChatGPT in an irrigated rice farming region in Nigeria.

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959. Systematic Review on Double Burden of Malnutrition in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

Nutrition transition is occurring rapidly in low- and middle-income countries, and many countries face problems not only with undernutrition, but also with overnutrition. Today we present a systematic review article published in The Lancet Global Health (Escher et al., 2024).
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958. The Future of Climate Change and Environmental Policies in Europe

Europe had aimed to reduce the use and risk of chemical pesticides across the EU by 50% by 2030, but amid growing opposition from farmers, European Commission President von der Leyen announced on February 6 that she was withdrawing the measure (shelving it) because it would be difficult to implement at this time. On the same day, however, the Commission proposed ambitious measures to combat climate change. Here is an editorial from a scientific journal on the background of European environmental regulatory developments that also affect the international environmental policy debate.
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957. Natural Climate Solutions ~ The NCS Philosophy

The concept of Natural Climate Solutions (NCS), which emerged around 2017, has attracted attention for its potential to mitigate climate change, which is accelerating at an unprecedented rate, and to help prevent catastrophic events. On the other hand, NCS is often understood in an abstract way, which often leads to confusion and misunderstanding with other climate solutions concepts, so a clear definition of the concept is needed. Today, we present a review paper that examines previous NCS-related discussions in order to define NCS more clearly.

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956. Record 1.5°C Above Pre-industrial Level

On February 8, 2024, the EU's Copernicus Climate Change Service reported that January 2024 was the warmest January on record globally, setting a new record for the hottest month on record for the eighth consecutive month, and 1.52°C above the pre-industrial average for the 12 months from February 2023 to January 2024, briefly exceeding the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C.

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955. February 10 is World Pulses Day

Tomorrow, February 10, is World Pulses Day. In this issue of Pick Up, we would like to introduce some reports on pulses by FAO.
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954. The Economics of Food System Transformation

At the end of January, a distinguished group of researchers specializing in the economics of climate change, health and nutrition, agriculture, and natural resources collaborated on a global policy report entitled "The Economics of the Food System Transformation". The report calls for urgent change, stating that the negative impact of the food system on human and global health is estimated at over $10 trillion annually, more than the food system's contribution to global GDP.

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953. Extreme Cold Waves Can Occur Even Under Global Warming

Earlier this week, the Kanto region was hit by cold weather, with heavy snow warnings issued for parts of Tokyo. World Weather Attribution, which analyzes the causal relationship between extreme events and climate change, said that the extreme cold that hit northern Europe in early January 2024 could also occur under warming, but with decreasing frequency, it could increase the vulnerability risk of societies that cannot anticipate cold waves.
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952. January 2024 World Food Price Index

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released its World Food Price Trends on February 2, with January 2024 averaging 118.0 points, down 1.2 points (1.0%) from the previous month, reflecting lower grain and meat prices, which offset higher sugar prices. The price index was 13.7 points (10.4%) lower than a year earlier.

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951. Solving Water Shortage ~ Expansion and Diversification of Water Resources

Water scarcity is becoming a serious problem in many countries around the world. More innovative and sustainable ways of securing, managing and conserving water resources are needed. Today we present an article published by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

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950. February 3 is "Soybean Day"

Tomorrow is Soybean Day, a celebration deeply rooted in the Japanese tradition of “setsubun”, which is observed as the day before the arrival of spring. In commemoration of Soybean Day, today's feature highlights the importance of soybeans in Japan and around the world. The spotlight extends to ongoing soybean research at JIRCAS, offering insights into the crop's status and impact.

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949. Rice Self-sufficiency in Africa

Today we would like to share with you an article in Nature Communications by Dr. Kazuki Saito, who is closely associated with the International Agricultural Research Institute, entitled "Intensifying rice production to reduce imports and land conversion in Africa".

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948. Trends and Outlook of Food Self-Sufficiency Ratio ― Toward Revision of the Basic Law on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas

A bill to revise the Basic Law on Food, Agriculture and Rural Areas, which sets the basic direction of Japan's agricultural policy, is scheduled to be submitted to the 2024 ordinary Diet session for deliberation.

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947. Planetary Commons

The renowned researchers who proposed the Planetary Boundary concept have proposed a new concept, Planetary Commons, calling for the need for Earth system governance to restore and strengthen the Earth's resilience and justice.

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946. What Will Humans Eat in the Future? – From Research in Food and Humans in Space

Join us on February 2 for the "Friday Night Science Café" hosted by the Tsukuba Science Tour Office, in collaboration with JIRCAS (Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences) and JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency).

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945. Climate Change Primary Cause of Drought in Amazon Basin

World Weather Attribution, which analyzes the causal relationship between extreme events and climate change, released an analysis on January 24 showing that climate change, not El Niño, is the primary cause of the extreme drought in Brazil's Amazon Basin.

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944. Toward Nutritional Supply in Response to Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa

Today's Pick up presents a paper (Jennings et al. 2024) that simultaneously assesses climate-smart agriculture and food security in sub-Saharan Africa. Diversifying agricultural production and improving crop productivity are considered essential.