FAO Urges Including Agriculture in Climate Change Negotiations

© FAO2 April 2009: Speaking at the UNFCCC climate change talks taking place in Bonn, Germany, Alexander Müller, Assistant Director-General, UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), urged policy makers to include agriculture in negotiations on a post-2012 climate change treaty.

Noting that agricultural land can sequester and store carbon, he called for farmers to be involved in climate change mitigation. He also stressed that, while agriculture contributes about 14-17% of global carbon emissions, farmers and their families, particularly in poor countries, will also become victims of climate change, as farmers and rural agricultural communities will face increased risk of crop failure and livestock loss. Müller said existing financing mechanisms under the Kyoto Protocol allow only a very small fraction of agriculture's mitigation potential to be realized. He explained that there are numerous options that framers can apply for effective mitigation, such as reduced tillage, increasing organic soil matter and soil cover, improving grassland management, using fertilizers more efficiently, and improving water and rice management. He further noted that massive investments are required to change unsustainable production methods, make agriculture more resilient to climate change and improve productivity and sustainability.

He underscored that the Kyoto Protocol's funding mechanisms do not provide adequate incentives for farmers to get involved in climate change mitigation and adaptation, suggesting that carbon markets could provide for public and private carbon funds in developed countries to buy agriculture-related emission reductions from developing countries to spur rural development and sustainable agriculture in developing countries. [The statement]