December 06, 2011

Indian NGOs bust the myth of climate smart agriculture

While the negotiations remain deadlocked in Durban over the issues of fate of Kyoto Protocol and Green Climate Fund, NGOs strongly opposed the climate smart agriculture which is being proposed as triple win solution to the problems of climate change, food insecurity and low resilience of farmers due to climate change impacts. In a side event a collective of NGOs from India, argued that the climate smart agriculture is a myth and falsehood being propagated by the agencies who have commercial interest in mitigation in agriculture. Besides, developed countries who do not want to reduce their own emissions are shifting the burden of mitigation on the developing countries and especially farming communities who are already under huge burden of adapting to the climate change impacts as they are the worst affected.

Opening the panel discussion, Ajay Jha from Pairvi, an advocacy support organization based in Delhi said that UNFCCC negotiations are under huge pressure from developed countries like US, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Japan etc. to include soil carbon sequestration in the Clean Development Mechanism. He said that it is being done at the behest of big agribusiness countries who will benefit significantly from it, and developed countries who will have another market based mechanism to fall back and escape their historical responsibility. Farmers fear that if soil carbon sequestration is approved as CDM, that will inevitably lead to land grabbing, and farmers losing the sovereignty on their land and produce. Ms. Anika Shroeder from MISEREOR, Germany talked about the false solutions being proposed in agriculture. She said that soil carbon sequestration is a methodology mired in inadequate scientific knowledge, inappropriate data and lack of countries capacity to measure soil carbon as it varies largely in different agro climatic zones and conditions. Many pilot projects being undertaken by World Bank etc. have even not been able to set the baseline, she reasoned. She also talked about how bio-char and no till agriculture being pushed as solutions to reduce emission in agriculture does not have much scientific basis or proven experience of reducing emission, and ultimately end up promoting increased fertilizer and pesticide use, which will benefit agribusiness companies and further increase the input cost in agriculture. She also added that farming communities in developing countries are being made to believe that they would financially benefit from these mitigation projects in agriculture, however, as a matter of fact these projects are so difficult and technical to commission that it is very unlikely that farmers would be able to do it. Few pilot projects have also revealed that the financial benefit going to farmer, if at all has been extremely insignificant, she added. Mr. Atul Kumar Singh Anjaan, Secretary of CPI said that climate criminals and industrialized countries having huge climate debt are devising new ways of fooling around farmers who are the worst victim of climate change impacts. However, more worrisome is lack of support to farmers in developing countries by their own governments. Globally public investment in agriculture is around 4% of the GDP while agriculture contributes to more than 25% in the GDP in the developing countries, unless that improves it would be difficult to bring resilience in agriculture and fight hunger in the world, he emphasized. More than 70% of farmers in India have a landholding of less than 0.2 ha, if they were to burdened with reducing emission in agriculture, it would severely affect the food security in these countries.

Mr. Anil Dave, Member of Parliament said that world are moving towards a system which is based on over exploitation of natural resources to optimize profit, and developed countries are harbingers and leaders of this political economy. They treat land, water, forests as dead objects created to benefit them, however, until we have respect for them, and try to harmonize our own existence with their existence, we cannot reach the goal of sustainable development, he underlined. Developed countries must provide financial and technological support to suffering millions and farmers in developing countries, in accordance with the climate debt they owe to them. Fast, just and adequate adaptation support is what farmers need in the developing countries, and it is highly unjust to allow polluting countries to continue polluting, and allow big agribusiness companies to fill their coffers in pretext of helping nature and agriculture. Mr. Soumya Dutta, convener of Bharat Jan Vigyan Jatha said that developed countries talking about reducing emission in agriculture is a stupid idea, as developing countries agriculture is already very smart. Developed countries burn at least three times more energy in producing one unit of food as compared to developing countries, he added. He added that even the national action plan on climate change and state action plan on climate change in different states are also jumping on the bandwagon by proposing soil carbon sequestration, modern scientific agriculture, increased use of biotechnology, no till agriculture etc. The mitigation in agriculture is being aggressively pushed by agribusiness companies and their huge financial interests, developing countries unable to see through the design is highly unfortunate. He also challenged the figures reported on agricultural emissions and that developing countries contribute to 70% of agricultural emissions, as having very little scientific basis.

Reportedly agriculture is one of the important components being negotiated in the Durban climate change conference which has representation from governments of 194 countries. Umbrella group comprising Australia, New Zealand, Canada supported by the US, and many multilateral agencies including World Bank and FAO want SBSTA (Subsidiary Body on scientific and Technological Advice to undertake a work programme on agriculture and agricultural emissions, which developing countries and farming communities believe will pave the way for agriculture being used as carbon sink. A number of farming communities associations and civil society organizations are reported to be strongly against agriculture in climate change negotiations. African countries are keen to take the discussion forward on agriculture. President Mr. Jacob Zuma also sees agriculture as one of the major deliverables in Durban.

3rd December 2011

From COP 17, Durban

Ajay. K. Jha

December 05, 2011

Binding mitigation targets for China, India etc - post 2020 ?

The Kyoto protocol - worked out in 1997, and in effect from 2005 February -- do not include any targets for reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by the developing or poor countries -- only the 37 rich countries in the Annex I list are bound by the KP to reduce their emissions by over 5% between 2008-2012. Almost none of these major countries have done any substantial reductions, except Germany for the last 3 years, all of them have been demanding the large 'emerging economies' - like China, India, South Africa, Brazil, Mexico etc -- take on binding commitments for reductions. Or else, these developed & rich countries are threatening to walk out of Kyoto Protocol (KP).

Just before the Copenhagen COP-15 in 2009, both the Governments of India & China declared their voluntary "Reduction of Energy Intensity of their Economies" by 20-25% and by up to 40% respectively, the pressure on these so-called emerging economies has increased since then.

Here in Durban, China is playing it’s cards very intelligently; by giving statements of intentions of emission reduction, by publishing and distributing huge amounts of material about what China is doing in terms of the shift to renewable energy etc. India -- in contrast - is hardly visible in the international scene, and even the press briefing that the Indian Govt. delegation (negotiating team) gave here was fuzzy and evasive. The heat is on these large emerging polluters, but India seems to have lost the mind space of the thousands of observers here and hundreds of millions out in the world.

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From COP 17, Durban

Soumya Dutta

Beyond Copenhagen

December 02, 2011

List of corporations inside COP 17

For the last several years, many big business & industry groups have floated NGOs, to have additional intervention space in all kinds of negotiations -- be it Trade, Climate change, Food security, water. The convoluted argument they put up is -- "aren't we also 'civil society’?". This completely negates the fact that as the moneyed groups, they already wield huge influences over governments and policy making. By floating these BINGOs (Business & Industry NGOs), they are deliberately & with clever designs -- encroaching upon the already shrunk democratic space left for various people's groups, social movements, progressive CSOs etc

Richard Polaris has compiled a list of corporations participating in this COP17 in Durban. This can be seen together with the fact that:

1. Big technology corporate solutions -- like the carbon Capture & Storage (CCS), Geo-engineering etc are being pushed as "solutions" for the emerging climate crisis, and
2. Even in the Climate finance issues, a hard push is visible for a part of whatever little climate finance is to emerge -- to go for financing private sector enterprises!!

Also to be noted, that many of the BINGOs masquerading as "civil society" are the big dirty-energy groups like Shell, Exxon, Sasol, Eskom etc, nuclear power vendors like Areva, many of which are extractive industry behemoths like Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton etc.




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Soumya Dutta


Beyond Copenhagen Coalition

Will Durban COP17 effectively bury the Kyoto protocol?

The indications were there right from the Copenhagen COP15 -- many developed countries were intending to abandon the Kyoto Protocol, unless the major developing countries take on significant mitigation responsibilities. Cancun COP16 only strengthened this trend, and in Durban - several developed countries are asking for a "DURBAN MANDATE" to "launch a process for a new global treaty" to address the deepening climate change crisis.

Lead by japan, Australia, even European Union -- developed countries are asking for a “new global and comprehensive legally binding (mitigation) framework” which will legally bind all “major economies”, including China, India, south africa, brazil, Mexico etc. into commitments of mitigation (and may be even climate finance). Japan & EU have demanded the setting up of a new working group to launch this process towards a new treaty !

All these means that the developed country parties are no longer feeling bound by their commitments under the Kyoto Protocol -- the only legally binding agreement in the area of climate change crisis. And the demand for a Durban Mandate to launch a process for a comprehensive treaty means essentially that the 2nd commitment period of the Kyoto protocol will not be there, and some diluted, business friendly hotch-potch will be signed on, leaving the field wide open for unmitigated business profits as usual -- as the driving force, rather than the facts from science/ research & World opinion -- become the enabling environment for business & profit.


The wild dogs always hunt in packs. Similar is the case for the hunting developed countries. First they sucked the resources of the poorer countries hollow, locking them into a viscious cycle of deprivation. Then they dumped huge amounts of atmospheric & oceanic pollutants into the common atmosphere & hydrosphere -- creating the climate crisis . Now they want the poor to mitigate or take care of the problem of climate change, and also negate their international legal commitments . Its just one more year -- since 2012 - when the first commitment period of the KP ends, releasing all the rich polluting countries from doing anything under legal frameworks.



In true hunting dog fashion, the lead dog is identified here as Canada -- who have indicated that they will formally leave the Kyoto Protocol , and it might not be long before the rest of the pack show up to hunt the victims -- here the LDCs, the Small Island states etc. They (AOSIS) in turn have called for a "Durban mandate to secure a legally binding agreement to reflect the outcome of the work of the Ad-hoc Working Group on Long-term Cooperative Action (AWG-LCA)". They are also demanding that the KP continues. Though KP has delivered very little, its still the only legal architecture which recognizes climate change as being created by rich nations and fixes responsibility on them. That is the proverbial straw the poor are trying to hold on to.

Egypt, Saudi arabi, Nigeria etc, opposed the proposal for a new Durban mandate towards a new legal framework, and wanted the existing work under the Bali Action Plan (BAP) through the AWG-LCA to be completed and to deliver its outcome, in an open-ended consultation of Parties & observers. BUT with developing countries under some economic stress, and their opportunistic reluctance to follow on Kyoto Protocol's 2nd commitment period, it is quite likely that the Kyoto Protocol will be given an un-announced burial; in Durban.

So, the world will return to the "Might Is Right" framework in respect of the grave emerging crisis of cliamte change. Not a very good prospect for a world that claims to be civilised.
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Soumya Dutta


Beyond Copenhagen Coalition

November 29, 2011

Discussion Paper_Myth of Climate Smart Agriculture; What is at stake at Durban?

MYTH OF CLIMATE SMART AGRICULTURE; WHAT IS AT STAKE AT DURBAN
Discussion paper for COP 17 side event
Climate Smart Agriculture; Whether a Myth or Reality
Saturday, 03 Dec 2011, 11:30—13:00, Room 5

Organized by Beyond Copenhagen and MISEREOR


Feedback and comments are welcome at k.ajay.j@gmail.com


Why it is important to talk about agriculture in climate change; impacts and likely impacts of climate change on agriculture

Climate change is not only an environmental issue but a defining problem for generations to come which can slow down the pace of progress towards sustainable development either directly through increased exposure to adverse impact or indirectly through erosion of the capacity to adapt. It is estimated that developing countries will bear some 75 to 80% of the costs of the damages caused by the changing climate. Even if global warming is limited to 2DC (which is definitely not the case as of now), the costs of adaptation for developing countries are likely to be in the range of $ 75 billion to $ 100 billion a year in the period 2010 to 2050 (World Bank, 2009). It will have significant bearing on the sustainable development and poverty reduction in developing countries and their ability to attain Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015.

Globally, 1.7 billion farmers depend on agriculture, the proportion of which is substantially large in developing and least developed countries. The increasingly erratic climate variability & unpredictable extremes of weather are already having adverse impacts on agriculture & food security, which will increase - as it may alter the balance between food demand and supply. South Asia and Africa are projected to be particularly vulnerable to these changes due to their large populations and great dependence on agriculture for livelihoods. Majority of the developing countries and small island states are most likely to be affected by climate-change impacts. Even with a temperature rise of 1–2°C, the IPCC predicts serious effects, including reduced crop yields in tropical areas leading to increased risk of hunger, spread of climate-sensitive diseases such as malaria, water stress in Africa, increased risk of floods followed by drought and water scarcity for millions of people, inundation of coasts and threat of stronger tropical cyclones, complete submergence of some small island states and an increased risk of extinction of 20–30% of all plant and animal species.

With public spending of less than 4%, agriculture contributes 29% of developing countries GDP and provides employment to 20% of the global and 65% of developing countries populations. The impact on agriculture will have profound impact on livelihoods, food production and access to food. Even without climate change impacts, prices are expected to increase significantly as population and income growth outstrip productivity and increase in total land area in agriculture. Climate change will further exacerbate this trend with wheat prices increasing by an additional 94-111% and maize by 52-55%. South Asia, a net exporter of food, is expected to become net importer of food by 2050 in no climate change scenario and with climate change its imports are estimated to increase by 550%. Sub Saharan Africa’s imports are expected to increase by 270% depending on the scenario. Latin America and the Caribbean countries would gain substantially and might turn into net exporter of cereals.[1]

Agriculture and climate change connection
It is alleged that agriculture contributes to around 12% of total GHG emissions and it could be as high as 30% including land use changes and deforestation. The sector is responsible for 47% of the world methane emission and 58% of the nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions. Methane contributes of 3.3 Gt of CO2 eq per year through enteric fermentation in livestock, and nitrous oxide contributes 2.8% Gt CO2 eq as emissions from the soils as a result of application of nitrogen fertilizers and as nitrogen excreted in livestock feces and urine. Co 2 accounts to only a small proportion of agricultural emissions. Agricultural soils both emit and absorb large fluxes of Co2 resulting in small net emission of 40 Mt Co2 eq, less than 1% of global anthropogenic emissions.

It is alleged that more than 75% of these emissions originate in developing countries and can be easily mitigated through soil carbon sequestration. That by implication means that developing countries who are already under huge impacts of climate change brought about by the developed world will also have to take the burden of mitigation and adaptation also. The developing countries also have failed to see through the design, that under the pretext of agriculture and food takes the focus out of sources of emission in the developed countries and being lured by money that mitigation in agriculture can bring to them. While we later come back to what is being offered on the table through rosy pictures of soil carbon sequestration to developing countries, let us first understand the agricultural emissions in developed and developing countries.
There is no denying the fact that majority of the agricultural emissions come from developing countries. The argument is also being extended to show how inefficient developing countries are in managing their agricultural emissions. However, as a matter of fact developed countries use three times more energy in producing one unit of food as compared to developing countries. The agricultural emissions of developing countries are huge only because the area of agriculture and livestock headcount in developing countries is far greater than in developed countries, where agriculture is highly mechanized and is a purely economic activity engaging insignificant proportion of population (less than 1% of the population in the US is engaged in agriculture) and makes insignificant contribution to the GDP. In absolute terms agricultural emissions in developed countries far outstrip the emissions in developing countries. In fact, mitigation in agriculture is being promoted by countries who have significant proportion of their emissions coming from agricultural exports and should be addressed first.
Agriculture in the UNFCCC and climate change negotiations
The Convention places obligations on Parties that could directly or indirectly affect agricultural activities. The linkage between climate change and agriculture is addressed directly in Article 2 of the treaty which states:

stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system… should be achieved within a time-frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

Under Article 4 of the Convention, developed countries have the specific obligation to “adopt national policies and take corresponding measures on the mitigation of climate change by {…} protecting and enhancing its greenhouse gas sinks and reservoirs.” Preambular paragraph 4 of the Convention also mentions the role and importance of sinks and reservoirs of GHGs in terrestrial ecosystems. When formulating Party obligations, the Convention, rather than focusing on specific mandatory obligations, focuses on general preparatory measures, such as to:

· Promote and cooperate in the development, application and diffusion, including transfer, of technologies, practices and processes that control, reduce or prevent anthropogenic emissions of GHGs in all relevant sectors including {…} agriculture.
· Promote sustainable management, and to promote and cooperate in the conservation and enhancement, as appropriate, of sinks and reservoirs of greenhouse gasses {…} including biomass.
· Cooperate in preparing for adaptation to climate change; develop and elaborate appropriate and integrated plans

In climate change negotiations, agriculture appeared in draft decision “J” in the LCA text in Copenhagen under the umbrella of article “I.b.iv” of the Bali Action Plan referred to as “cross-sectoral approaches,” mainly promoted by the agriculture export dominated “Umbrella Group” countries of New Zealand, Canada, Australia, supported by Switzerland and the United States. Later on few developing countries including Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Philippines, Thailand, Bolivia have been participating in the debate. Saudi Arabia also remains engaged on this issue given that oil and energy are critical elements of “cross-sectoral” mitigation actions. In Bonn, India and African countries also engaged on this issue, with the concern of unilateral trade measures being imposed by certain countries in agricultural trade.


The entire focus in agriculture remained on mitigation and the LCA adaptation chapter had only a footnote reference to agriculture linking the sector to projects and programmes. The COP 15 at Copenhagen remained embroiled in power politics and the three page outcome text of Copenhagen did not have any reference to agriculture. Post CPH, responding to the call of Copenhagen Accord (CA) to inform UNFCCC of their quantified economy wise emission targets, 35 developing countries included agriculture in their NAMAs. Subsequent meetings (at Tianjin and Bonn) further included texts in LCA (mitigation in agriculture) on the proposals of G-77, Argentina and Bolivia, and requested Subsidiary Body on Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) of the UNFCCC to develop a Work Programme on Agriculture to study the impacts of climate change in agriculture and come up with firm proposals on mitigation. In the meantime a Global Research Alliance on Agricultural GHGs was launched led by NZ, US and Japan also. The Cancun Cop failed to push work programme on agriculture and all the text from mitigation chapter in the LCA was dropped.


In Bangkok and Bonn inter sessional Conferences , the agenda fight also brought back the attention on agriculture on the issue whether agriculture should remain in the LCA or should be delegated to the SBSTA. New Zealand and Canada proposed a direct SBSTA work program or a broader discussion in the LCA outside of 1.b.iv, while the G-77 insisted that the framework of the Bali Action Plan be adhered to and thus agriculture should remain under 1.b.iv. They also pushed to address agriculture within the LCA in “additional matters” rather than under “cross-sectoral approaches” so as to remove references to trade in previous agriculture drafts. In the end, the G-77 fought hard to keep agriculture under cross-sectoral approaches, where they felt a general framework for cross sectoral approaches needed to be developed balancing all sectors, including bunker fuels. New Zealand and others wanted to launch the work program and/or deal with agriculture outside of cross-sectoral approaches to avoid a trade discussion. They also asserted that they wanted to address both adaptation and mitigation regarding agriculture.


As of now, agriculture is not on the SBSTA agenda but remains in “cross sectoral approaches.” However, there are pressures from other quarters as well. The CancĂșn Agreement, which form the basis of continuing negotiations, emphasize the role of carbon markets in climate finance, paving the way for an increase in agricultural offsets. LULUCF is being renegotiated as AFOLU to include most of the agriculture as Agriculture, Forestry and Land Use. It is mention worthy that under LULUCF reporting emissions from agriculture was optional which developed countries use to their advantage by not reporting. However, of late developing countries have shrilled the campaign on closing the gap in the LULUCF and hence developed countries want more market based mechanism to reduce their emissions and hence demand for including soil carbon sequestration under market based mechanism through REDD Plus. Originally REDD Plus allowed less than 1% carbon credits through soil carbon sequestration. Though REDD Plus is still being negotiated World Bank and FAO have already launched their pilot projects on soil carbon sequestration!


What’s the problem with soil carbon sequestration?
The soil carbon sequestration is a methodology mired in inadequate scientific knowledge, inappropriate existing data and capacity of countries to measure soil carbon given the large diversity in different agro climatic zones, and unsound techniques for evaluation. The technical difficulties and key uncertainties for carbon stocks accounting were strong enough reasons to dissuade the negotiators from including soil carbon sequestration in CDM originally. The Kyoto Protocol had ruled that soil carbon sequestration and avoided deforestation are not eligible for CDM credits. Now, economic and political powers (led by the World Bank, FAO, large agribusiness, and interested countries) are looking eagerly to rewrite the rules by expanding the eligibility of CDM projects to soil carbon sequestration mitigation activities, leaving aside the complexity and uncertainty of accounting for reductions in these sectors. However, new push for mitigation in agriculture shoves off all problems experienced and encountered till date. It is interesting to note that pilot projects launched for soil carbon sequestration does not have any baseline![2]


Climate smart agriculture and the associated evils
The climate smart agriculture being pushed down the throats of small farmers in the world is advocated as triple win, increased food production, cash for poor farmers and climate resilience in farming. It sounds impressive. However, there are no models yet to show that it can happen in the way which is being proposed. In fact what climate smart agriculture promotes is technical fixes in agriculture through no till conservation, increased use of GMOs and pesticide, agrofuels, industrialization and corporatization of agriculture. The hosts of solutions being offered have two certainties, one they will result in substantial profits for the agribusiness TNCs and secondly, they will be catastrophic for small farmers, which will not only be herded into large farm tracts to facilitate climate smart agriculture, but will also completely lose their sovereignty over seed, land, production and their autonomy to produce what they need and want.


Let us have a look at some of the proposals on the table, which are being proposed as a means to climate smart agriculture and sure shot formulae for sequestration of soil carbon (carbon transactions are today a US $ 300 billion market) and cannot in any way be a solution to the crisis either in agriculture or climate.


GM Crops: GM crops are not only dangerous for human and animal health and environment but also greatest threats to the seed sovereignty of small farmers. They are also increasing the danger of depleting the world’s seed-diversity, crucially important in a climate-challenged world. Only Du Pont has more than 40% of the patents registered for climate ready crops between 2008 to 2009. Together with Monsanto and BASF, it controls more than 66% of the patents registered.


No till or conservation agriculture: Monsanto has been lobbying since 1998 to get no till agriculture approved as CDM methodology. It claims that its round up ready products help tackle climate change, as they do not require tilling and control weeding by heavy dousing of round up herbicides. Approval to no till agriculture methodology will enable it to lure farmers with the dreams of accessing carbon credits and sale of its chemicals will result in unimaginable profits. However, it will be a sure disaster for small holders and poor farmers, with companies falling over one another to control larger tracts of lands.


Biochar: Bio char methodology is based on the premise that applying charcoal to soils will create permanent carbon sinks and increase soil fertility and water retention. The concept originated from the discovery of organic carbon rich soil, or ‘terra preta’, in the Amazons. It entails huge tracts of lands being kept fallow for centuries, requires ½ to 1 billion ha for carbon sequestration, which would have to be uncultivated for long times to come. To have any significant contribution in reducing agricultural emissions, the land required is 1.5 to 3 times the area of India. Whether land can be available at such a scale, can be taken out of critically needed food production - are huge questions? The UN Convention for Combating Desertification has already proposed bio-char, however, it did not find favor with many countries as it has serious impacts on fertility of the soil, food security for the present and significant contribution to acid rains. No biochar methodology has been approved by the CDM board yet, but a charcoal methodology has been approved which can be easily used by TNCs for biochar. Besides Plantar (Brazil) which initiated the proposed methodology and has extensive Eucalyptus plantations in Brazil, and Arborgen (South Carolina, USA), which develops genetically-engineered eucalyptus, are likely to benefit from it in a huge way. A recent study by MISEREOR has showed that none of the pilot projects on bio-char have been able to demonstrate any substantial benefit, and many of them have been already abandoned by the promoters.[3]


Agrofuels: The CDM Board has approved (2009) a methodology for biodiesel production from dedicated plantations on ‘degraded or degrading land’. The definition of “degrading land” is so ambiguous that it covers almost all agricultural land and all ecosystems. Archer Daniels Midland and Cargill have benefitted directly and earned carbon credits. Other big biotech companies are also eyeing benefits from this methodology. It also needs to be noted that, with the spike in agro-fuel production in 2003-04, the amount of land under conflict, and the no of land conflicts – have also sharply increased. It is mostly the land belonging to the indigenous communities and the village commons which are being targeted for agro fuel plantations, leading to serious existential crisis for these already threatened societies. On top of that, agro-fuels have large water foot-prints, aggravating an already serious water crisis due to the changing climate.

Agriculture financing needs and finance inflow from mitigation to agriculture; peanuts to peasants of the world


Large investments are required in agriculture to meet the projected demands and sustain food security needs. Even without climate change impacts, it is estimated that global investments of the order of US$ 9.2 billion annually will be required by mid century (FAO, 2009). Asia accounts for the largest share of investment (57%), with China and India alone requiring 41% of the projected investment. Sub Saharan and East and North Africa require 23% and Latin America requiring remaining 20%.


However, the public spending in agriculture is 4% in agricultural economies (developing and LDCs), which has risen significantly in the aftermath of food crises to 6%. More than 2/3rds of the investment in agriculture has come from private sector. Through local investments and FDI. About US $ 14 billion has been committed to farmland and agriculture infrastructure investment globally among more than 50 firms Agribusiness TNCs (OECD, 2010). UN statistics show that FDI in global agriculture production tripled between 1990-2001 to US $ 3 billion annually from less than US41 billion. The geographical focus of the investment centred on South America (led by brazil) and Africa. These private investments are being deployed focused on production of major raw crops including oilseeds, corn, wheat and feed grains (83%), followed by in livestock production (13%). The trend shows a definite inclination towards forcing agricultural production to oil seeds, agro fuels and meat production. Low levels of public investment in agriculture have resulted in inadequate development in rural infrastructure, knowledge generation, and access to food and markets, which have kept the small farmers trapped in poverty.


Cancun agreement committed to mobilize US$ 30 billion from 2010-2012 to be scaled up to US$ 100 billion from 2020 onwards. There are significant uncertainties about from where the resources will be mobilized, and how it will be channelized. The apparent lack of money in agricultural finance has also provided an opportunity to advocates of market based mechanisms to ask for including agricultural mitigation in the CDM for look for new opportunities within market based mechanisms. However, as a matter of fact, even agricultural mitigation has awfully small money to offer to agriculture. Following financial channels are supposed to be main sources of finance for mitigation and a also adaptation in agriculture”


The global Environment Facility Trust Fund (GEF): The GEF operates the current financial mechanism of the Convention. For the period 2010–2014, a total of US$4.25 billion has been pledged, of which about US$1.35 billion is expected to be delivered to mitigation projects.[4] These figures are considerably lower than the funding generated under the CDM and the sums are expected to flow through the Green Climate Fund, the GEF Trust Fund remains one of the largest sources of grant-based finance for mitigation.[5]

UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol linked funds: The GEF also operates two other funds under the Convention: the Special Climate Change Fund, which focuses mainly on adaptation, and the Least Developed Countries Fund, which assists least-developed countries in preparing and implementing their NAPAs. Both funds provide adaptation funding for agriculture-related projects. Under the Kyoto Protocol, the Adaptation Fund supports projects and program in developing countries and is financed through a 2 percent levy on the share of proceeds from CDM project activities. Most of the projects accepted and proposed for funding to date have agriculture as a component.[6]

The Green Climate Fund: The Cancun Agreements established the Green Climate Fund (GCF) as a financial mechanism under the Convention, with the World Bank serving as an interim trustee subject to a review three years after the fund begins operations. It is likely that the GCF will be set up by 2012, although it remains unclear where the resources for the GCF will come from and how much time it will take until the GCF starts receiving and channeling these funds to developing countries. It is also not clear to what extent the GCF will replace the GEF as the financial operating entity under the UNFCCC. The fact that Parties agreed that a significant share of adaptation funding will flow through the GCF shows that they expect a stronger role for the GCF in climate funding, at least with respect to finance for adaptation measures.

Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs): NAMAs are voluntary mitigation actions by developing countries in the context of sustainable development goals and objectives that reduce emissions below the business-as usual baseline. Many developing countries have listed a number of activities related to agriculture in their NAMAs, for which they require international financial support. However, the quantum and channel of support is indeterminable till date.

REDD+ and CDM: Though highly contentious, CDM and REDD Plus are being renegotied to include agriculture, if that happens some finance will be available through this channel. However, most of them are likely to go the countries and agribusiness companies given the fact that claiming carbon credits is highly resource intensive and technical, and farmers and farming communities will have minimal access to whatever finance is available.


The truth of carbon finance for farmers; story of World Bank pilot project on soil carbon sequestration
The World Bank's flagship Biocarbon Fund project is billed as a triple win for more food production, cash for the poor and climate resilience. Really? The reality is that Africa's first "soil carbon" project – which will involve 60,000 Kenyan farmers planting trees, manuring the land, and farming in "sustainable" ways to save around 600,000 tonnes of carbon over 20 years – also exhibits the sheer madness of the carbon markets.


The US-based Institute for Agriculture Trade Policy (IATP) has now analysed the fine print and found (PDF) that the project expects to earn $2.5m from the carbon markets. But to set it up, to employ advisers and consultants and to monitor it will cost $1.05m. The 60,000 farmers will then share the remaining $1.4m. This sounds good, but works out at a lowly $23.83 each over the 20 years, or just a little more that $1 per year. Moreover, they will only earn this if they change the way they farm and record precisely what they plant, burn and put on the land. Given that the poverty line in Kenya is around $1 a day, the chance for Africans to earn a tiny amount a year – while Swedish and other advisers earn massive amounts – is likely to end in tears.

Source: IATP


What is stake at Durban
Having failed at Cancun in their designs, advocates of climate smart agriculture have redoubled their efforts for Durban. World Bank has convinced African Governments about the only solution to agriculture, that is “climate smart agriculture” so much so that South African Govt. sees agriculture as one of the major deliverables at Durban. Reportedly, hosts have also organized a pre conference meeting of agriculture Ministers to reach a consensus.


Consensus in the run up to Durban or at Durban will likely be difficult. However, it is also clear that the World Bank wants to ramp up its engagement on agriculture by convincing African governments in particular, that agriculture could be a lucrative opportunity to attract carbon finance. With talk about “partnership,” “readiness” and “early action,” it appears that the World Bank and others would like to launch a similar process with agriculture as REDD. There seems to be a hope that, as in REDD, pilot projects can create a political momentum for carbon markets to include soil carbon. This is likely to be a tough sell to sound investors given the numerous difficulties the carbon market is facing today and with the carbon price crashing.[7]


What do farmers want
There is considerable difference of opinion among the farmers’ organizations and civil society organizations working with farmers on the role of agriculture in climate negotiations. While most of them, see inclusion of agriculture only as a ploy of developed countries and agribusiness companies to rake up profit through mitigation in agriculture and are strongly opposed to any reference to agriculture in climate negotiations; there are others like Beyond Copenhagen who believe that while keeping agriculture completely out of climate negotiations might not be possible under intense pressure from umbrella groups and campaigning by big TNCs, it would be a better approach to help set games of the rules based on focus on adaptation, capacity building and technology transfer for adaptation needs of small farmers. We are extremely convinced that farming communities do have sufficient resilience against climate change and in the absence of which agriculture would have been in complete disarray given the impacts on agriculture. We strongly believe that much of the desired investment in agriculture will have to be come from public finance. Private investment in agriculture will be motivated by controlling and monopolizing agriculture in developing countries at the hands of big agribusiness TNCS and it shall have to be tailored by national governments to suit the needs of agriculture and farmers. The current debate on agriculture in climate negotiations offering technological fixes not only do not offer credible solution to the multiple crises of climate change, agriculture and food, but will definitely accentuate the crises. The international climate change negotiations are influencing national policies and especially agricultural policies to follow the international prescription, which is highly dangerous. The climate negotiators must make a distinction between highly industrialized high input western agriculture and low input sustainable agriculture in developing countries and mitigation in agriculture, if at all has to begin in countries with high emissions in absolute terms. The developing countries need to understand that climate change and agricultural solutions will have to be small farmer friendly, which are in dire need to adaptation support without being further burdened by mitigation. Sustaining small farmers agriculture in developing countries can only sustain economic growth with equity and food production and security, and mitigate climate change.


[1] Addressing Agriculture in Climate change Negotiations, A scoping Report, Meridian Institute, 2011
[2] Turning farms into carbon sinks; agriculture and the COP 16 in cancun, Joanna Cabello, GIZ, January 2011
[3] Biochar-a climate smart solution, Almuth Ernsting, MISEREOR, July 2011
[4] UNFCCC. http://unfccc.int/press/news_room/newsletter/items/5563.php
[5] World Bank. Making the most of public finance for low‐carbon growth. 2009,
[6] http://www.adaptation-fund.org/node/794
[7] Agriculture to feature as a key issue on the Road to Durban: opens up critical debates, Andrew Ranallo, June 2011

Call for the climate negotiators at COP 17, Durban

Call for the climate negotiators at COP 17, Durban

Roundtable on Climate Crisis and State Response
2nd and 3rd November 2011, Delhi

We the members of Beyond Copenhagen Coalition, an umbrella organization of more than 40 organizations and networks, civil society organizations, women’s groups, agriculture workers unions, and individuals, having met at Delhi on 2nd and 3rd November , 2011 in Roundtable on climate crisis and state response, and having discussed the current state of play at climate change negotiations, position of government of India in climate negotiations, priorities of developing countries and national priorities in climate stabilization, also having discussed National Action Plan on climate change (NAPCC) of government of India and State Action Plans of various states in India, and other policies aimed at combating climate change in the country; express serious concern on the lack of ambition and development in the climate change negotiations, and trend of shifting burden of both mitigation and adaptation on developing and poor countries who have least or no contribution in brining climate crisis,


We also express serious concern on impacts of climate crisis and climate change response policies on poor communities, farmers and agricultural workers, indigenous populations, dalits, women, climate refugees and migrants in developing countries and South Asia in general and India in particular,


Noting significant climate change impact on agriculture and food security in the form of extreme variability and unpredictability in monsoon and weather pattern, increasing temperature and reduced precipitation, reduced number of rainy days and due formation, increasing costs of agriculture and livestock rearing, and reduced farm incomes, which have resulted in increased migration, distress sale of land and livestock, and increased agrarian distress and increased burden on women,


Recognizing that climate change policies must be based on the needs of rural poor communities and farmers in developing countries in South Asia, Africa and Latin America, and must meet the needs of small farmers, indigenous population, women, and climate refugees and victims
Also recognizing that national climate change policies must not be influenced by the trajectory of imperfect rules and proposals advanced by developed countries, neo-liberal policies and corporate interests in climate change,


Emphasizing that agriculture, rural development, livelihood and food security must be the pivot of global response to climate change and national policies, as must recognize the multidimensional role that agriculture provides in developing countries in providing sustainable solutions to the multiple crises of economies, food, climate change and sustainable development that world is facing today,


Recalling that food security has a central role in the UNFCCC, which is to avoid dangerous climate change within a time frame sufficient…to ensure that food security is not threatened (Art.4),


Recalling that UNFCCC and Kyoto Protocol confirms the role of developed countries in bringing about the climate crisis by having “ largest share of historical and current global emissions” and the duty that they owe to the developing and countries, LDCs and small island nations in collective task of climate stabilization,


Also recalling that sustainable development will be achieved only to the extent of our having enabled the mother earth and nature to regain their regenerative capacity,


Recalling that IPCC and various other studies have identified India as one of the most vulnerable country, and South Asia to be severely affected by climate change impacts besides Sub Saharan Africa, and has projected a severe decline in agricultural and food production even to the extent of 40%,


Expressing serious concern that various scientific studies have projected an increase in temperature in the range of 3.5DC to 5DC unless the developed countries efforts are lifted to ambitious levels, and further that emission reduction pledges of Annex 1 countries are thoroughly inadequate to keep the rise in temperature below 2DC,


Emphasizing that annex 1 countries are trying to replace the science based, rules based and commitment based system of the Kyoto Protocol to pledge and review, which is completely not accountable and will result in further rise in emissions and global warming


Also emphasizing the urgent need to inform climate change negotiations of the impacts taking place in developing countries, LDCs and small island nations, need for more participatory, transparent and accountable, just and fair process to address the crisis and need for a farmer, affected community and civil society based approach to climate negotiations, demand


1. On agriculture and climate change
1.1 We demand that climate change negotiations, must pay due attention to the importance and multidimensional role of agriculture and must respect its linkages with livelihoods, food security, rural development, and equity, and treat agriculture as one of the central concerns in climate change negotiations.
1.2 The response policies should be designed in consultation with farmers, farmers organizations and affected farmers and must be responsive to the needs of small farmers in developing countries.
1.3 We strongly oppose the mitigation focus in agriculture and demand that negotiations must make a distinction between highly industrialized, mechanized, input intensive, and export oriented agriculture in developed countries and low input, low energy sustainable agriculture in developing countries
1.4 We also strongly oppose to use agriculture as a sink and undue emphasis on including soil carbon sequestration in approved mitigation technologies. We completely reject the technological fixes in agriculture those are being promoted by developed countries on the behest of agribusiness companies, which takes away the focus from source of greater emission in developed countries and puts undue burden of mitigation on developing countries and farmers. These methodologies will not only harm agriculture and farmers but also exacerbate the climate change.

2. On mitigation and emission reduction
2.1 We demand that developed countries must adhere to their legally binding reduction commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and reduce their emission at source as per the demands of the science, acknowledge their historical role and undertake common but differentiated responsibility in mitigating climate change.
2.2 We also demand that Annex 1 countries as per the decision in Cancun must undertake second commitment period, and should not put any precondition to their going into second commitment period of the protocol.
2.3 We also reject the efforts of some developed countries to merge the two tracks of AWG LCA and WAG KP in the second commitment period in order to repudiate their binding commitments.
2.4 We also strongly demand that countries who decide not to go into second commitment period must have comparable reduction commitments.
2.5 We call upon the Annex 1 countries to address emission at source and at domestic level without having recourse to increased use of market based mechanisms. The market based mechanism should not be used to offset more than one-quarter of Annex 1 countries emissions.
2.6 We also call upon the developed countries to reform their highly industrialized and mechanized and high carbon footprint agriculture and agricultural subsidies. And we also demand an immediate closure of loopholes in the LULUCF which they have been using to hide their agricultural emissions.
2.7 We demand that developed countries not to resort to unilateral trade measures such as Border adjustment tax, subsidies, carbon labeling requirements, environmental payments and subsidies, which have the potential of making exports and agricultural exports from developing countries less competitive.

3. On climate change adaptation
3.1 We demand that developed countries to compensate developing countries for encroachment of their atmospheric space and current climate change impacts according to the principles of the CBDR laid down in the Protocol.
3.2 We emphasize that agricultural adaptation is the most important component in the adaptation and must be addressed forthwith through a variety of efforts including finance, technology, capacity building and research.
3.3 We call upon the Annex 1 countries to allocate at least 2.5% of their GNP for support to the costs of adaptation in developing countries and especially agricultural adaptation, which should be also supported through variety of other resources mainly through public sources.

4. On climate finance
4.1 We demand that climate finance architecture should be transparent, accountable, and easily accessible. We also support the G-77 demand that it should not be administered by World Bank.
4.2 We also demand that climate finance should be provided by public sources rather than through market based mechanisms and finance should be in addition to overseas development assistance, and should be provided as a grant rather than as loan. We also regret that finance being made available through 2010-2012 has been largely repackaged ODA rather than new and additional funding.
4.3 We also reiterate that climate finance administration mechanisms must co opt representatives from farmers and affected communities, besides having equitable representation from all country groups.
4.4 The climate finance must be human rights based, country led and democratically owned
4.5 We call on the GCF to support adaptation, mitigation and technology transfer and ask for a new fund in the agriculture sector to support adaptation.

5. On technology transfer
5.1 We reiterate the urgent need to scale up existing technologies and facilitate expedited transfer and knowledge to help small farmers adapt top climate change. The knowledge created must make due appreciation of the knowledge of farming community and create a synergy between scientific and technical knowledge.
5.1 We also call upon for immediate and full assessment of technology by civil society and farmer led approaches to ensure that technologies developed and transferred are appropriate, based on the needs of small farmers, environmentally sound and financially viable.
5.2 We also demand that UNFCCC prevent all agribusiness companies from acquiring patent of climate resilient plant and seed varieties invented, demonstrated and used by farming and traditional communities for years. We also strongly demand that IPR regimes should be reformed to facilitate easy access of technology at reasonable costs for countries and communities in need.

6. On compliance, enforcement and climate justice
6.1 We reiterate that costs of inaction on climate stabilization is being borne by poor communities in developing countries, who have no contribution in climate crisis, the rising number of climate refugees and migrants and increasing extreme climatic events along with subtle and chronic impacts of climate change is leading to social conflicts, inequity and poverty.
6.2 We express serious concern at repudiation of legal commitments by developed countries, and lack of legal framework for enforcing compliance and institutional mechanism for addressing climate change impacts
6.3 We underline the need for judicial mechanism, besides finance and technology, accessible to communities and countries and having expertise and powers to appraise and take action against state and non-state parties for climate crimes
6.4 We also express serious concern that existing legal, judicial and quasi-judicial institutions including PCA, ICJ, DSB of the WTO, or the UNCLOS are either restricted by jurisdiction or by expertise to deal with issues related to environment and climate justice.
6.5 We demand an International Tribunal on Climate and Environmental Justice to strengthen environmental and climate justice laws, identify the countries and communities at risk, state and non-state parties in violation of climate justice principles, lay down rules of state and non-accountability and liability for climate change impacts, award compensation and sanctions to state and non-state actors.
6.6 We also take note of the express appreciation for the demand of International Environmental Courts raised by civil society organizations, judicial bodies , countries and demand for International climate justice Tribunal (by Peoples Conference on Climate Change and rights of the Mother earth, Bolivia), and call upon the UNFCCC to take immediate steps for prompt realization of this


We express solidarity with farmers and civil society groups in South Asia, Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America and completely identify with their concerns with rise in temperature and its concomitant effects on agriculture. We call upon the developed countries to raise their level of ambitions at COP 17, to keep the rise in temperature below 2DC with the incremental goal of capping it 1.5DC. We also express our solidarity with the concerns raised by Peoples World Conference on Climate Change and Rights of the Mother Earth and express our confidence in the justice of nature and Mother earth.

What is new at COP 17 by BCPH?

Beyond Copenhagen would be organizing virtual participation and /feedback of climate victims including farmers, women, indigenous and tribal populations, climate refugees etc. during the COP. Fooatge from different parts of the country like Rajasthan, Manipur, Assam etc. and from the neighbouring country of Bangladesh will be screened at the venue. They will be informed of the developments in the negotiations and will provide their reaction and feedback. The event will not only inform people of how affected communities react to the developments / proposals/inadequate progress in the negotiations, but also will be of significant interest to media, NGOs and negotiators.

June 14, 2011

Straight from Bonn, Germany : Day 1 at the COP 17 Preparatory Committee Meeting

The Intersessional of UNFCCC is currently going on in Bonn, Germany. As a part of the first day's events i.e.6th.of June 2011, few topics of discussion seemed to have remained of utmost significance. One of the most crucial ones being the structure, constitution, and operation of the Green Climate Fund that is supposed to provide the big money for both climate change mitigation, and adaptation. A noticeable point of in this discussion was that the sources and processes of raising this fund are still in ambiguity with 'talks' mostly pointing towards the carbon market being a primary provider, rather than the polluting nations contributing directly.

In terms of REDD+ (Reduced Emissions from Deforestation & forest Degradation plus quality enhancement), the 'Official' position of 'parties' from the developed world is exclusive focus on REDD+ without taking in the entirety of Forest issues. Significantly countries like Bolivia and few others have taken a strong exception with this regard. The contentious issue remains the same as to whether Agriculture should or should not be brought to the climate negotiations. Some of the developed countries, like Canada, New Zealand etc. have repeatedly pushed for this including agriculture’s role in mitigation as well. This has been sought through the way of carbon markets and through the CDM (also claimed as Clean Development mechanism). However, this is being strongly opposed some of the developing countries as well as by most farmers, forest people, & other movement groups present. The real fear here is that farmers will lose out completely to the corporate agriculture lobby, in this new game of soil carbon sequestration. Looking at the history of CDM till date, that is a very strong possibility.

Another most alarming trend observed - which started in Copenhagen (2009 - COP-15) itself, was that of the superseding multilateralism of the UN process, by the unilateral agenda of pushing by powerful countries & lobbies. Much time has already been exhausted in countering this trend by the official working groups - while developing countries are trying to point out and block these unilateral 'actions' and their acceptance by the 'Chairs' of these groups.