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The Paris Agreement on Climate Change: Agriculture and Food Security

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Jonathan Verschuuren*
Affiliation:
European and International Environmental Law at Tilburg University

Extract

In the coming few decades, the world is facing three related problems.

First, agriculture contributes to climate change to a considerable extent. In its Fifth Assessment Report, the IPCC's Working Group III concludes that the AFOLU sector (agriculture, forestry and other land use) is responsible for just under a quarter (∼10 – 12 GtCO2eq/yr) of anthropogenic GHG emissions. Usually, a distinction is made between non-CO2 emissions, in particular methane (NH4) emitted by livestock and rice cultivation, and nitrous oxide (N2O) caused by the use of synthetic fertilizers and the application of manure on soils and pasture. Methane and Nitrous oxide have 25 times and 300 times stronger impact on the climate than CO2 respectively. CO2 emissions from agriculture are mainly caused by deforestation and peatland drainage. Emissions from agriculture have been rising on a yearly basis since 1990, although with important regional differences (they went down in Europe and up in Asia).

Type
Mini-Symposium on the Paris Agreement on Climate Change
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2016

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References

1 Smith, P et al., ‘Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU)’ in Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press 2014) 816 Google Scholar.

2 Smith et al., above note 2 at 823.

3 See in more detail my chapter ‘Climate Change and Agriculture under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and Related Documents’ in: M J Angelo, A DuPlessis (eds.), Research Handbook on Climate and Agricultural Law (Edward Elgar 2016).

4 Hugh Saddler and Helen King, ‘Agriculture and Emissions Trading: The impossible dream?’ (The Australia Institute Discussion Paper 2008) 102.

5 Porter, J R et al., ‘Food Security and Food Production Systems’ in Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Part A: Global and Sectoral Aspects. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press 2014) 513 Google Scholar.

6 Porter et al., above note 6 at 488.

7 Ibid. at 491. In some high-latitude regions, individual locations also benefit from climate change. It is expected that the majority of locations will experience negative impacts while some locations benefit from climate change. Overall, there will be a steady decline of the world's food production because of climate change. Ibid. at 505.

8 See, for example, the blogpost by Bruce Campbell, director of the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, coordinated by the University of Copenhagen: Climate Change: Half a Degree Will Make a World of Difference for the Food We Eat <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bruce-campbell-phd/climate-change-half-a-deg_b_8756428.html> accessed 1 February 2016.

9 Porter et al, above note 6 at 505.

10 Ibid. at 251.

11 Ibid. at 514.

12 Ibid.

13 Ibid. at 255.

14 Campbell, Bruce, Mann, Wendy, Meléndez-Ortiz, Ricardo, Streck, Charlotte and Tennigkeit, Timm, Agriculture and Climate Change: A Scoping Report (Meridian Institute 2011) 1 Google Scholar.

15 Ibid. at 2.

16 Ibid. at 3.

17 Smith et al., above note 2 at 837.

18 Ibid. at 816.

19 Ibid. at 854.

20 ICTSD-IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade: Considerations for Policymakers (International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development 2009) 2.

21 Ibid.

22 This section is based upon the negotiating texts and the final agreement, all of which are available through <http://paristext2015.com/> accessed 1 February 2016.

23 FCCC/ADP/2015/1, 40 (version 11 June 2015) (under 101bis).

24 Co-chairs, Non-paper of 5 October 2015, <http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/2015/adp2/eng/8infnot.pdf> accessed 1 February 2016.

25 FCCC/ADP/2015/1, 21 (under 50).

26 Co-chairs, above note 25 at 10.

27 Art. 2(1)(b) Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

28 European Commission, ‘Commission Staff Working Document. Accompanying the Document Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council “The Paris Protocol - A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020”’ (SWD 2015) 17 final, 18.

29 European Commission, ‘Energy Union Package. Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament and the Council “The Paris Protocol – A Blueprint for Tackling Global Climate Change Beyond 2020”’ (COM 2015) 81 final, 16.

30 Art. 4(1) and Art. 2(1)(a) Paris Agreement on Climate Change. Note that the draft texts proposed much stricter end goals, such as zero emissions or full decarbonisation by 2050, FCCC/ADP/2015/1, 9-10 (under 17.2).

31 Rogelj, J, Luderer, G et al., ‘ Energy system transformations for limiting end-of-century warming to below 1.5 °C’ (2015) 5 Nature Climate Change 519 CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

32 See for example Articles 7, 9, 10 and 11 of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

33 Art. 7(9) Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

34 See the decision that accompanies the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, FCCC/CP/2015/L.9.

35 Campbell et al., above note 15 at 92.

6
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