Agricultural sector splits in two at UN climate talks

By Megan Rowling

According to the CGIAR research programme on climate change, agriculture and food security (CCAFS), agriculture is responsible for 14 percent of global climate-changing emissions, a figure that rises to 19 to 29 percent if all the processes of food production are included.

Yet efforts to get agriculture included in the U.N. climate negotiations have stalled after the committee handling the issue failed to reach agreement, largely due to differences over whether to include the role of agriculture in reducing – or mitigating – greenhouse gas emissions.

“Some of the developing countries don’t want any mention of mitigation, and I think that’s because they don’t believe there should be any targets that affect their food security,” said Bruce Campbell, director of CCAFS. Instead they have argued that any inclusion of agriculture in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change should focus on helping farmers to adapt to climate. However, as many of the research projects presented at Agriculture, Landscapes and Livelihoods Day 5 have shown, adaptation and mitigation do not have to be mutually exclusive – they often go hand-in-hand.

Without inclusion in the UNFCCC; farmers, researchers and policy makers fear that it will become harder to direct climate finance into the agricultural sector, thus threatening the technical and scientific understanding that is necessary to develop and implement successful adaptation and mitigation strategies. They argue that this in turn will undermine the very food security many developing countires are presently trying to protect.

Read the full story on Reuters AlertNet – Dismay at agriculture impasse in UN climate talks


Megan Rowling is a journalist for the humanitarian news website Reuters AlertNet