The fast approaching United Nations climate change conference is an important meeting – you might even say crucial. Despite the 2015 Paris Agreement and the jubilation the agreement has sparked among those watching the climate change scene, the commitments made have failed to deliver on the agreement’s promises – and it’s time to register.
From October 31 to November 12, the COP 26 meetings will take place in Glasgow, Scotland. It is assumed that the meetings of the nonprofit groups will continue beyond the official end date of November 12 of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference.
More than 25,000 people will gather, despite the ongoing pandemic. Meetings should have taken place in 2020 but were delayed; the hope is that this year will be safer.
Countries are now called upon to reduce their emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2010 levels and to net zero emissions by 2050. Despite the Paris Agreement, current emissions are expected to be 16% higher by 2030 at 2010 levels. Many say this is our last chance to try to come to an agreement that heralds the possibility of a 1.5 to 2 degree temperature change.
Agriculture and land use are presented as among the key issues of COP 26. Indeed, global agriculture has contributed 20% of greenhouse gas emissions. Agricultural journals around the world hope that the role of food production, local farmers and reducing carbon emissions will lead to healthier models of agriculture. The UN COP 26 agenda has two sections devoted to these issues: one on agriculture and the other on land use.
For an overview of the history of the COP and current conference issues, check out this webinar with Meena Raman of the Third World Network, sponsored by NFUniversity. Progressive farm groups are coming together in a coalition that will advocate for food production solutions. The National Farmers Union of Canada will send eight official observers to the conference and work in solidarity with the international farmers’ organization La Via Campesina and allies such as the Scottish Land Workers Alliance.
Discussions about targets, approaches to reducing emissions and global equity are increasingly polarized as the climate emergency intensifies. The need to dramatically cut emissions now and not spend a dime more on fossil fuel production runs up against market forces promising carbon capture technologies being deployed through market-based companies.
Green capitalism meets eco-socialism in this fight for the planet.
For many, including peasant and agricultural movements, the concept of “net zero” by 2050 is a dangerous mistake and should not be the default position. Technologies like solar geoengineering or other trending carbon capture ideas from technologists offer false hope. Plan A should be to dramatically cut emissions now, with richer countries taking the lead and applying the principles of climate justice. Then if the technology can help along the way, great. But the technology is Plan B – not Plan A. Betting on these technologies to save the Earth instead of reducing emissions is dangerous and based on green capitalism.
In agriculture, we hear more and more about the link between the global smallholder farm crisis and climate change.
Bolivia and the ALBA countries propose non-market-based approaches at COP 26. Progressive movements emphasize climate justice. Part of climate justice is making sure rich countries meet their $ 100 billion a year pledges in climate finance to developing countries. Oxfam’s climate report documents the greed of rich countries to play a numbers game or creative accounting. As the Ottawa-based Chairman of the Group of 78 pointed out, Canada is also stingy on this front.
There are no magic market-based or technology-based solutions to climate change. But there are a lot of people out there who know what to do.
Many small farmers from around the world will gather at COP 26, including the National Farmers Union of Canada contingent, in the hope of contributing to the political debate on how agricultural emissions can be reduced by reducing the ” use of artificial fertilizers, intensifying agricultural practices and increasing the number of small farms and producing food for local markets to help remove the carbon used to unnecessarily transport food back and forth across the world.
In recent years, several reports have detailed initiatives that should be adopted and encouraged by governments to achieve these goals. The reports point out that the climate crisis and the agricultural crisis here in Canada (and elsewhere) have the same root cause; reducing emissions from agricultural production can also be an opportunity to strengthen family farms.
In August 2019, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a major policy report on food, agriculture and climate change titled Climate change and the land. The IPCC report was prepared by 107 scientists from 52 countries, more than half of which are developing countries.
Finally, there is also a global movement to pressure countries to adhere to policies aimed at reducing emissions. The Fossil Fuel Non-Proliferation Treaty was launched in 2016 in the Pacific Islands and is now endorsed by more than 2,100 scientists, 800 organizations, more than 140,000 personalities and dozens of cities and local governments around the world , including Vancouver and Toronto. . The aim is to “phase out fossil fuels and support a just transition”.
All of these forces will come together in Glasgow, Scotland for COP 26.
Will world leaders get along? May be. But COP 26 is just as much about popular movements that build links and organize themselves to prevent powerful governments from maintaining the current masquerade.