Exit Menu

Mapping tool helps Defra assess climate change risks

Academics at Brunel University London helped the Government explore the risks of climate change by utilising a novel artificial intelligence technique.

Professors Amir Sharif and Zahir Irani developed the unique Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) technique to assist the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in scenario modelling and subsequently improving its management of environmental threats.

Defra has been able to use the technique to understand how inherent inter-relationships are able to influence decisions relating to climate change – and the effect this then has on the UK farming industry.

Three workshops were delivered to Defra in 2011 and 2012 to inform the process by which Defra develops the agribusiness element of UK climate change policy. Defra statisticians and economists have used this research to further explore the driving factors which could lead to the reduction of greenhouse gases from the farming sector.

Defra’s subsequent report, Climate Change Mitigation for Agriculture and the Food Change Evidence Plan 2011/12, sits alongside the backdrop of proposed changes to the European Union’s Common Agricultural Policy 2014-2020.

As a result of the research Professors Sharif and Irani were appointed as advisors on climate change mitigation, agriculture and food chain.