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Rice is a vital crop that provides people with more calories in total than any other food ( STR/AFP/Getty Images )

Rice farming is known to be a major contributor to climate change, but new research suggests it is far bigger a problem than previously thought.

Techniques intended to reduce emissions while also cutting water use may, in fact, be boosting some greenhouse gases, meaning the impact of rice cultivation may be up to twice as bad as previous estimates suggest.

Read more: Rice farming up to twice as bad for climate change as previously thought, study reveals

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Forests are the most powerful and efficient carbon-capture system on the planet.

A forest planted on an abandoned open-pit coal mine, Germany. Credit: Hans Blossey Getty Images

The latest IPCC report  does not mince words about the state of our planet: we must act now to achieve global change at a scale that has “no documented historical precedent” in order to avoid the climate catastrophe that would result from a 2 degree C rise in average global temperature. Climate change already disproportionately affects the world’s most vulnerable people including poor rural communities that depend on the land for their livelihoods and coastal communities throughout the tropics. Indeed, we have already seen the stark asymmetry of suffering resulting from extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, droughts, wildfires and more.

Read more: The Best Technology for Fighting Climate Change Isn't a Technology

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Climate-smart agriculture boosts yields, mitigates extreme weather impact and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. A study in Central America, Africa, and Asia points to profitable opportunities for farmers and the environment.

CREDIT: INTERNAIONAL CENTER FOR TROPICAL AGRICULTURE / GEORGINA SMITH

Cacao farmers in Nicaragua lose their crop, the main ingredient for chocolate, to fungal blight and degrading soils. Yields drop in Vietnam's rice paddies because of higher temperatures and increased salinity. Bean and maize growers in Uganda see their plants die during severe dry spells during what should be the rainy season. The two-punch combination of climate change and poor agricultural land management can be countered with simple measures that keep farms productive and profitable. Implementation of this climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices can increase yields, benefit the environment and increase farmer income, according to a new cost-benefit analysis by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) published November 19 in PLOS ONE.

Read more: Simple steps to climate-proof farms have big potential upside for tropical farmers

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