Keynote Speaker

David Kanter, NYU, USA


David Kanter is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at NYU and Vice-Chair of the International Nitrogen Initiative. His research examines new policy options for addressing nitrogen pollution and how to manage the transition to a global food system consistent with the Sustainable Development Goals. Prior to his current position, David was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The Earth Institute at Columbia University. He received his BSc in Chemistry and Law from the University of Bristol in the UK and his MA and PhD in Science, Technology and Environmental Policy from Princeton University.

Talk title: Leveraging the agri-food chain for a post-carbon world


The current toolbox of environmental policy instruments in the agricultural sector is woefully inadequate for transitioning to a post-carbon food system. This keynote will focus on two crucial changes that need to occur: the first is shifting the regulatory burden away from farmers towards other actors in the agri-food chain that can influence farm-level behavior. This could transform the non-point pollution problems that constitute agriculture’s environmental footprint into a series of more tractable point-source approaches. The second is more visibility into the trade-offs and synergies of transitioning to a post-carbon food system, i.e. what are the implications for the Sustainable Development Goals and their successor(s)?

This talk will explore these questions through the lens of two ongoing projects: the first is Governing Nutrient Pollution Beyond Farmers, which aims to design a new governance framework for nutrient pollution that would go hand-in-hand with a broader transition towards a post-carbon economy. The second is the Sustainable Agriculture Matrix: the first integrated decision-support tool to help policymakers understand the implications of different agricultural management and policy choices in the context of the SDGs.

Together these projects and this talk will generate insights into several fundamental questions surrounding the transition to a post-carbon food system: how can we stimulate site-specific innovation in a traditionally conservative sector? What kinds of policy tools are responsive to how farmers actually make decisions? What other actors in the agri-food chain could be leveraged to achieve substantive and durable change at the farm-level and beyond? Beginning to answer these questions is a critical first step in steering the myriad crops, climates and cultures that constitute our global food system towards a future consistent with our climate and SDG commitments.



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