UN Climate Change Negotiations 2012: Agriculture out of the ambit of negotiations




UN Climate Change Negotiations 2012

Developing countries have guarded interests of small farmers and concerns of food security by successfully resisting moves by the industrialized world to turn to agriculture for reducing emissions at the UN-sponsored climate talks at Doha.

Developing countries such as India, which are traditionally more dependent on agriculture, believe the focus should be on adapting to climate change. With nearly a vast section of the Indian population directly or indirectly dependent on agriculture for their livelihood, the focus in climate change negotiations for agriculture dependent countries like India has been on dealing with changes in rainfall and temperature that comes with climate change.

For India, keeping agriculture out of the ambit of negotiations is a non-negotiable as any effort to limit emissions in this sector may impact the country’s food security. On this count, agricultural emissions have been kept out India’s targets particularly at the time when the government wants to enact the food security law.

Deep differences over agriculture meant that the committee on technical matters could not close the discussion with a recommendation for the general assembly. When the subsidiary body considering the issue meets its will have before it proposals submitted by the European Union, New Zealand and the G-77. The first two are focused on mitigation with a focus on technological intervention to reduce emissions. Though agriculture contributes to as much as 30% of New Zealand’s emissions, their proposal is focused on technological interventions in developing countries.

Discussions in the committee did present some difficult moments for India and others in the developing country bloc, G-77 and China, with several of the least developing countries including Bangladesh decided to break away.

These countries argued that mitigation should be included in the focus. Senior Bangladeshi negotiator Mohammed Asaduzzaman, who is research director of the Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies, is of the view that fears that undertaking emission reduction efforts in agriculture would endanger food security is misplaced.

“The suggestion was to look at impact of agriculture on climate change not mitigation. Besides even if you agree to mitigation in farming, it doesn’t mean implementing it right away. It doesn’t have to be in a year or two – so you will have time to adjust,”” the Bangladeshi negotiator explained. Asaduzzaman argued that mitigation could be focused on tackling the high level of waste and inefficiency in agriculture. “If you cut that waste, even by half, there will be a lot of mitigation without jeopardising food security and without jeopardising adaptation.”

However, other developing countries do not share the view. A senior negotiator from Bolivia argued that agriculture has to be addressed in the context of adaptation, poverty eradication and food security.

The G-77 was able to bring the breakaway countries around, however, experts say that this was by no means the last of the effort by the developed countries.

Courtesy: Economy Times

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