As seen above, the United Nations has been working on climate change mitigation and adaptation methods for many years. They have been joined by many countries who recognize the urgency of global action to solve humanity's greatest challenge. You don't hear much about the UN efforts in the U.S. because of corruption of our media by supporters of right-wing climate change denial which is financially sponsored by the fossil fuel industry and its major enablers, the Koch brothers.
The UN has been especially persevering in connecting the dots between climate change, agriculture, and food security. Their copious research involving scientists from around the world not only connects the dots but brings forward the understanding that agricultural is one of the few sectors in which mitigation and adaptation join together creating immense opportunity for solving the climate change crisis.
Please read below the fold for more on the United Nations' new publication.
The report links global security and escalating conflicts with the urgent need to transform agriculture toward what it calls “ecological intensification.” The report concludes, “This implies a rapid and significant shift from conventional, monoculture-based and high-external-input-dependent industrial production toward mosaics of sustainable, regenerative production systems that also considerably improve the productivity of small-scale farmers.”
The UNCTAD report identified key indicators for the transformation needed in agriculture:
- Increasing soil carbon content and better integration between crop and livestock production, and increased incorporation of agroforestry and wild vegetation
- Reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of livestock production
- Reduction of GHGs through sustainable peatland, forest, and grassland management
- Optimization of organic and inorganic fertilizer use, including through closed nutrient cycles in agriculture
- Reduction of waste throughout the food chains
- Changing dietary patterns toward climate-friendly food consumption
- Reform of the international trade regime for food and agriculture
The report is especially harsh in stating that global trade rules should be reformed in order to work toward these ends, which is the opposite of what mega-trade deals like the proposed Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the U.S.-EU Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are seeking to accomplish.
The Institute noted that these pending deals are “primarily designed to strengthen the hold of multinational corporate and financial firms on the global economy …” rather than reflect the urgent need for a shift in agriculture described in the new report.
In 2007, another important report out of the multilateral system, the International Assessment of Agriculture Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD), with contributions from experts from over 100 countries (and endorsed by nearly 60 countries), came to very similar conclusions. The IAASTD report concluded that “Business as Usual is Not an Option,” and the shift toward agroecological approaches was urgent and necessary for food security and climate resilience. Unfortunately, business as usual has largely continued. Maybe this new UNCTAD report will provide the tipping point for the policy transformation that must take place “before it’s too late.”