The Climate Action Network (CAN) held a strategy planning for COP23 to pressure negotiators to ensure that the negotiations will adhere to the Paris Agreement. One of the working groups focuses on the issues pertaining Article 4: Mitigation specifically Agriculture.
One of the agricultural topics that was discussed was in regards to global livestock production that creates large amounts of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that contribute to 14.5% of global GHG emissions. Scientific evidence shows that current collective action cannot meet the target of achieving temperature rise below 2 degrees let alone within the limit of 1.5 degrees. Through current efforts, the expected temperature rise in 2050 will reach a dearing temperature of 3 degrees. By urging negotiators to push for implementation of agriculture in climate talks which includes technology transfer, financial aid, food security etc. the reduction of GHG emissions can contribute to meeting the targets set in the PA.
The discussion was also focused on the use of the term food security and food production. During the discussion, it was brought up how food production is used to market the production of livestock especially beef as an excuse to insure food security. Paradoxically, the beef production giant companies of some countries actually produce less food as the production of 1kg beef requires 10kg of grain and 14,000 litres of water. Because of that, the total of the 5 biggest beef companies of the world produces more GHG emissions than oil companies such as Exxon, Shell, or BP (Figure below). This is due to the effects of high methane production from cattle as one unit of methane has a global warming potential (GWP) of 86 units of carbon dioxide gas over a 20 year time period. CAN hopes to push for the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) negotiations to deliver meaningful action of agriculture in all aspects on the ground, by linking specifically with the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI).
You can check the research done by Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) and GRAIN released in the form of a joint fact-sheet with the Heinrich Böll Foundation about livestock emissions here.
Another related discussion was the use of technology transfer, by means of agricultural technological aid from Annex 1 to Non-Annex countries , the amount of emissions produced can be reduced and mitigated. This is in conjunction with Article 9 of the Paris Agreement that stipulates the developed country Parties shall provide financial resources to assist developing country Parties with respect to both mitigation and adaptation in their continuation of their existing obligations under the Convention text.
The CAN members also shared what happened during the SBSTA meeting. During the SBSTA meeting of item 3 (mitigation), the parties provided 3 ideas in regards to agriculture; (1) Developed country parties is pushing for the proposal or support for mapping i.e creating an action plan from the current situation of each parties, (2) Parties pushes the agenda for SBSTA negotiations to deliver meaningful action on the ground, by linking specifically with the Subsidiary Body on Implementation (SBI), (3) Create more mitigation workshops and ensure that SBSTA should provide advices during workshops as it was not been doing previously.
On the 10th of November, Parties have finally agreed on Agriculture implementation in COP. After five years of negotiations of procedural and political discussions, the Agriculture working group has come to an agreement to discuss concrete options at future meetings and forwarded a major new decision to the COP. The agreed joint work between SBSTA and SBI will finally allow the implementation of Agriculture. Implementation is important especially when food systems are at such risk of climate impacts and that the industrialised agriculture was contributive to climate change.
René Castro, assistant Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) have said that “Countries now have the opportunity to transform their agricultural sectors to achieve food security for all through sustainable agriculture and strategies that boost resource-use efficiency, conserve and restore biodiversity and natural resources, and combat the impacts of climate change.”
Written by Azam
Edited by Varun