Climate change to dominate talks

Delegates at the Oxford farming conference will today hear speakers talk about one of the most pressing political issues of the day.

Climate change and its consequences for food production will be the hard-hitting theme, with lectures and debates throughout the day.

Professor Robert Watson, the new chief scientist at Defra, will speak about his role and how climate change has become top of his agenda. For the past 11 years he has worked at the World Bank on climate change and biodiversity issues, latterly as the bank's chief scientist.

A session on the science of carbon footprinting and its challenges and benefits will be led by Simon Aumonier, a partner in a leading environmental consultancy, Environmental Resource Management. He will be talking about the company's work on carbon footprinting.

Water will be the topic discussed in a session led by Dr Keith Weatherhead from Cranfield University, who will talk about the future availability, demand and management of water.

The chairman of the Oxford Farming Conference, Julian Sayers, will chair a session about farming and global warming and has been billed as "hard-hitting", featuring internationally renowned climate change speakers.

There will also be a lecture on the hazards and opportunities for agriculture in the face of climate change, delivered by Sir Crispin Tickell, director of the Policy Foresight Programme at the James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization.