Most business-as-usual scenarios for farming under changing climate regimes project that the agriculture sector will be significantly impacted from increased temperatures and shifting precipitation patterns. Perhaps ironically, agricultural production contributes substantially to the problem with yearly greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions of about 11% of total anthropogenic GHG emissions, not including land use change. It is partly because of this tension that Climate Smart Agriculture (CSA) has attracted interest given its promise to increase agricultural productivity under a changing climate while reducing emissions. Considerable resources have been mobilized to promote CSA globally even though the potential effects of its widespread adoption have not yet been studied. Here we show that a subset of agronomic practices that are often included under the rubric of CSA can contribute to increasing agricultural production under unfavorable climate regimes while contributing to the reduction of GHG. However, for CSA to make a significant impact important investments and coordination are required and its principles must be implemented widely across the entire sector.