Climate change and agrofuels

Why ‘climate-smart agriculture’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Teresa Anderson

(Original article published on The Guardian)

Friday 17 October 2014


There’s a new phrase in town. A growing number of governments, corporations and NGOs are using the term climate-smart agriculture to describe their activities. With climate change affecting farming worldwide, you might assume we should be celebrating this as a step in the right direction.

But many organisations in the food movement are wary of or even opposed to this concept. They share growing concerns that the term is being used to green-wash practices that are, in fact, damaging for the climate and for farming. Many are worried that the promotion of climate-smart agriculture could end up doing more harm than good.

At the United Nations secretary general’s climate summit in New York last month, heads of state such as President Barack Obama referred to the need for climate-smart crops to weather the challenges ahead. The Dutch prime minister, Mark Rutte, announced the launch of the new Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture, involving governments, corporations, research institutes and NGOs.

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Invitation to sign on statement to denounce corporate takeover of Climate Summit.

We call upon all fellow social movements, peoples organizations and environmental and climate justice movements to sign on this statement and join us in this call to action.

b_350_0_16777215_00___images_stories_climatechange_agricultura-cambio-climatico.jpgOn the 23rd of September, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, will host a Climate Summit in New York, bringing political leaders, big business and a highly select few civil society representatives. The Summit has been surrounded by a lot of fanfare but proposes voluntary pledges for emission cuts, market-based and destructive public-private partnership initiatives such as REDD+, Climate-Smart Agriculture and the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative. These are all false solutions of the green economy that seeks to further commodify life and nature and further capitalist profit. The undersigned social movements that all together represent more than 200 million people around the world, denounce this corporate take over of the UN and the climate negotiations process and call for a deep systemic change.

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Typhoon Haiyan exposes the reality of climate injustice – We strengthen our resolve to struggle for an end to the climate madness

PRESS RELEASE - La Via Campesina

(Jakarta, 3 December 2013) On November 8, 2013, the strongest super typhoon ever recorded in history, with winds as high as 314 kilometers per hour, slammed into the Philippines. Typhoon Haiyan devastated several cities in the islands of the Visayas, leaving in its wake, more than 5,000 dead, more than 1,000 still missing and millions impacted with thousands of families left without food, water or shelter.

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Stop the corporate takeover and expansion of carbon markets now!

COP 19 statement signed by la Via Campesina among 155 signatories

COP 19 Climate Capture: 

Stop the corporate takeover and expansion of carbon markets now!

For almost 20 years, multilateral climate policies have served to create profitable financial schemes that maintain fossil fuel dependent systems that are responsible for the climate crisis. November 11-22 in Warsaw, Poland, the 19th Conference of the Parties (COP19) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be no exception. The EU's agenda for the COP19 will be both to scale-up carbon trading mechanisms and find other ways of sustaining an industrial and financial system dependent on coal, oil and gas, which is facing a crisis of multiple dimensions. 

EU’s agenda for COP19: more carbon markets

In an attempt to increase the reach of carbon markets, the EU will pledge its continued support to a set of failed policies that have been rejected by more than 140 organizations and social movements from around the world.1 The EU, Norway, Australia, the USA, and a host of corporate allies aim to establish more environmental markets under the UNFCCC to supplement the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS), which lies in shambles.2 The New Market Mechanism (NMM) would expand the scope of offset schemes like the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM). In addition, discussions on the Framework for Various Approaches (FVA) would involve an agreement to approve international trading from various existing national, regional and local carbon markets for compliance with the commitments under the Convention. 

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Climate Summit: Don't turn farmers into 'climate smart' carbon traders!

Media release of La Vía Campesina | GRAIN | ETC Group

7 November 2013. Farmers produce food, not carbon. Yet, if some of the governments and corporate lobbies negotiating at the UN climate change conference to be held in Warsaw from 11-22 November have their way, farmland could soon be considered as a carbon sink that polluting corporations can buy into to compensate for their harmful emissions.

“We are directly opposed to the carbon market approach to dealing with the climate crisis,” says Josie Riffaud of La Vía Campesina. “Turning our farmers' fields into carbon sinks – the rights to which can be sold on the carbon market – will only lead us further away from what we see as the real solution: food sovereignty. The carbon in our farms is not for sale!”

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Governments produce blank pages in Doha for planet’s future; La Via Campesina farmers are cooling the planet

La Via Campesina - Press release

(Jakarta, 6 December 2012) – As the climate negotiations come to a close, the industrialized countries insist on inaction for the next decade, finding even more ways to escape their historical responsibility, create more carbon markets including one on agriculture and to keep business as usual of burning the planet. While governments continue to prioritize the interests of industry and agribusiness peasant farmers continue producing to feed the world’s people and the planet.

The high level segment of the 18th Conference of Parties (COP 18) and 8th Meeting of Parties (CMP 8) of the United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has begun on December 5 with Ministers arriving in the petro-state of Doha, Qatar. But the almost two week long negotiations has produced absolutely nothing. Developed countries are so entrenched in their positions and goals for inaction that when the Chair of the negotiations presented the new text under the Long Term Cooperative Action track, the text literally contained blank pages in areas where the Chair claimed divergences existed; these included adaptation, technology development, finance, capacity building and economic and social consequences of response measures – all issues of great concern to developing countries.

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Statement of Asia Social Movements on Climate Change at the Asia Social Movements Assembly

World Social Forum on Migrations, Manila, Philippines


We have seen climate change related phenomena with intensity never seen before, like Hurricane Sandy, in many parts of the world in the past year.We no longer have the luxury of time as incidents of increasingly severe storms, floods, droughts, disruption of water cycles and other similar eventsare becoming the “new normal” for many countries. It is also becoming apparent that climate change is instigating more forced migration, and will createmore climate refugees. An estimated 200 million people could be displaced by climate change by 2050. In 2010 alone, it was estimated that more than30 million people were forcibly displaced by environmental and weather-related disasters across Asia and this number will continue to rise. Climatechange has also been wreaking havoc on crops and farmlands, worsening the already growing food crisis and pushing even more people into hunger.

And yet, despite the increasing devastation wreaked by climate change on farmlands, livelihoods, and homes, the UN Framework Convention onClimate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations are moving backwards instead of moving closer to a global agreement that will stabilize and cut greenhousegas emissions. The premise of the climate negotiations has always been based on the principle that developed countries need to live up to theirhistorical responsibility and yet from Cancun to Durban to Qatar, negotiations have instead focused on how developed countries can escape theirprevious commitments. Now, with the current proposals on the table, not only are developed countries going to be able escape commitments bywatering obligations down to voluntary pledges but they will also be able to create more carbon markets and loopholes in order to not take any action atall. Estimates from a study by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have calculated that even without all the loopholes, these currentpledges will lead to an increase in the temperature of up to 5 degrees centigrade.

Read more: Statement of Asia Social Movements on Climate...

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