Thursday, December 6, 2012

Agriculture takes a backseat again

IRIN: Discussions about much-needed support for agriculture - which is seen both as a victim and a cause of climate change - at the UN’s climate change conference in Doha have been postponed until next year.

Agriculture is a contentious and emotionally fraught issue. It results in the emission of major greenhouses gases, such as nitrous oxide and methane; the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates agriculture accounts for 13.5 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

But climate change also threatens agriculture, which most developing countries’ populations rely on for income. The impact of climate change also threatens global food security; projections show that yields from food crops could decline by five percent for each degree Celsius increase in global warming. Many poor farmers are already experiencing the impact of increasingly variable rainfall.

Because of sharp divisions over the kind of support agriculture needs, little progress has been made in addressing these issues in the new climate deal being negotiated under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Some at the UN talks - known as the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP18) - see agricultural issues playing a more dominant role in reducing global warming. These participants emphasize the need to reduce agriculture-related emissions.  At the same time, developing countries are arguing they need more money and better technology to help farmers adapt to the impact of climate change, including frequent droughts, flooding and increased soil salinity....

Abraham Janssens, "Scaldis and Antwerpia," 1609

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