Debate to focus on agriculture post-Kyoto

During this December’s Paris Climate Conference a heavyweight panel, organised by the World Farmers’ Association (WFA) in conjunction with the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) and including New Zealand Climate Change Minister Tim Groser, will bring attention to the role of agriculture in a post-Kyoto world.

The organisers say that the Paris Climate Conference promises to be a milestone in tackling climate change, with the international community having set for itself the ambitious target of reaching a new global accord applicable to all countries that would keep global warming below 2ºC.

“How can agriculture be best positioned in a post-Kyoto regime?” they ask.

Climate change will have a range of different impacts on the agricultural sector, such as changes in production patterns due to higher temperatures, variation of precipitation patters, and a potentially increased vulnerability of the farming community. However, the agricultural sector can be part of the solution to climate change owing to its vital role in carbon sequestration, including through crops and pasture for livestock.

The ‘Zero Draft’ of the 2015 agreement, released in February, makes explicit reference to the land sector and agriculture, which according to OIE/WFA is a positive development. “A 2015 agreement should deploy finance, know-how and capacity building to support ambitious actions by farmers and the agricultural sector in achieving food security through adaptation and mitigation.

“The Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) by countries could bring agriculture into climate change commitments and activities. Agriculture could also prove central to mitigation and adaptation measures by all countries.”

The organisers of the event say they will ask probing questions as to the future of agriculture in a post-Kyoto regime, arguing that properly positioning agriculture will be central to meeting the planet’s good security, nutritional and energy needs. It will present climate-smart agriculture as the necessary paradigm change.

“Farmers are without doubt, part of the solution to climate change and can support governments with their expertise in the implementation of a 2015 agreement,” the organisers say.

Ten leaders are involved in the “Agriculture in a Post-Kyoto Terrain” debate in the conference provisionally to be opened by French Senate president Gérard Larcher and moderated by BBC news anchor Julie Foster. Included are New Zealand Climate Change Minister Tim Groser, OIE director-general Dr Bernard Vallat, WFA president Dr Evelyn Nguleka, International Trade Centre executive director Arancha Gonzales, former Italian prime minister and dean of the Paris School of International Affairs at the Sciences Po Enrico Letta, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) executive secretary Christiana Figueres. The debate will be followed by a question and answer session.



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