December 16, 2009


By Claudia, Beyond Copenhagen Volunteer at COP15
11th December 2009, ‘Bringing Agriculture in Climate Change Negotiations’

During the meeting, it has been highlighted the relevance of agriculture in Copenhagen negotiations. In the agreements, agriculture is usually considered as an industrial agriculture, while the role of traditional agriculture is not taken into account. Only in Klima Forum agriculture has a main role, but in COP15 it is considered just from trade and commodities point of view. COP15 considers only industrial agriculture characterized by high costs and high tech and all the negotiations concern market and profitability. The role of technology in COP15 is only for certain countries and only agriculture related to genetical engineering and mechanization is considered. The only solution is listening to the farmers.
During the last years, the agriculture industry has been changed in order to be more productive and to satisfy market needs: farmers have been pushed to produce in a more intensive way, through bioagriculture. Thus, agriculture has been mechanized and the consequences are negative both for the soils and for the global warming.
Regarding agriculture in developing countries, it is hard finding data, especially at the local level: the only information available is based on anecdotal evidences and testimonies. Since agriculture is based on tradition from generation to generation, it is becoming more and more difficult to predict the environment conditions (e.g. monsoons).
A further point that has been discussed regards connections between North and South of the world. Through monoculture, North is affecting South: forests are converted into agricultural lands, the product system is changed, the transport cost and related emissions are growing. According to data from Netherlands, the national agriculture system of such a small country is contributing for pollution for a level of 11%. Thus, the consequences of this system are affecting the environment and the socioecological situation: agriculture should be sustainable.
Emissions from 1999 are 17% more, especially in developing countries. This is due to increased population, non appropriate agricultural technologies, non appropriate trade policies. A sustainable agriculture should be based on biodiversity and soil feed. In order to achieve this objective, it is important how adaptation funds are used: they do not have only to promote sustainable agriculture, but also to sustain it. It is important what is decided and how it is applied, whether it respects or not the land. For instance, in some African lands nitrogen fertilize has been used: even though it was promoted by the EU, it poisoned the lands and soils changed and got addicted to it.
A panel in Philippines shows that biofuel can be considered as a solution to climate change, and they are also important for the biofuel business. However, foreign corporations interested in biofuel production took the land from the population and now there are two main consequences: people are landless and they perceive less safety, and lands are used for monoculture.
Finally, it has been discussed how adaptation and agriculture are related. In order to let population adapt to climate change, it is important to consider farmers knowledge and to involve farmers in the decision process. Each land has its own tradition and knowledge, thus there will be different strategies for different lands. Moreover, farmers should be aware of what is happening and because their traditional knowledge cannot be used anymore due to climate change.


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