By Savanna Henderson, Humanitas Global
During the Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris, world leaders come together from November 30 to December 11 for the UN summit on climate change to negotiate a treaty to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Agriculture should have a starring role in these talks as it accounts for roughly 25% of climate change. Deforestation, use of fossil-fuel based fertilizers, and land degradation all contribute to GHG emissions. Livestock alone accounts for 14.5% of all GHG emissions. On top of agriculture’s role in causing climate change, agriculture is also very susceptible to climate change. Changing weather patterns and events will change production patterns, quality of food and could disrupt availability and access to food for more vulnerable populations.
Despite the role of agriculture in contributing to and being effected by climate change, it is not mentioned in the draft agreement of the official UN climate negotiations. Though it has been given such a minor role in climate discussions, 80% of the submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) have included agriculture in climate change mitigation targets and 64% have cited the importance of agriculture in adaptation actions.
Agriculture and climate change are two sides of the same coin and should be addressed as such at COP21. Recognition in the INDCs are a great starting point, but there also need to be specific and actionable strategies addressing adaptation, mitigation and resiliency building. There are already far too many people suffering from hunger and malnourishment and the numbers will continue to grow if COP21 does build in climate-resilient nutrition and agriculture strategies to the agreement.
For more information on climate change and hunger and nutrition check out this recent article from IFPRI Director General Shenggen Fan on climate-smart agriculture and the Global Nutrition Report. Also, be sure to watch the live webcasts of COP21 from Paris.