COP 28 and Agroecology
The 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference or Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC, more commonly referred to as COP28, is the 28th United Nations climate change conference.
This conference runs from 30 November to 12 December 2023 at Expo City, Dubai.
The conference has been held annually since the first UN climate agreement in 1992. COP conferences aim to point governments to agreed policies to limit global temperature increases and adapt to the impacts associated with climate change .
Unfortunately, the conference was widely criticized, both regarding the summit leader and the choice of the United Arab Emirates as the host country, given its dubious and opaque environmental record, and role as a major producer of fossil fuels. The summit’s chairman, Sultan Al Jaber, is the CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), raising concerns about conflict of interest.
Despite all the doubts, the United Arab Emirates has committed to reducing carbon emissions to zero by 2050; the first government in the Middle East to make such a commitment. It was the first country in the region to sign the Paris Agreement on September 21, 2016. The country has invested $50 billion in clean energy internationally and has pledged another $50 billion by 2030. In November 2022, The United Arab Emirates has agreed to partner with the United States to invest another $100 billion in clean energy.
At European level, within the framework of the guidelines adopted by the Council of the European Union with the conclusions of 16 October (see our column of 24.10 second paragraph), the European Commission and the President of the European Council Charles Michel are active in promoting the proposals of the EU in COP negotiations and side agreements.
The main negotiating objectives are defined as follows:
– triple global renewable energy capacity and double rates of energy efficiency improvements by 2030;
– reach an agreement on the gradual elimination of non-abatement fossil fuels;
– ensure that fossil fuel consumption peaks before 2030;
– Phase out fossil fuel subsidies that do not address energy poverty or just transition.
Regarding adaptation to climate change, the European Commission reports that the EU is committed to making clear progress towards the global adaptation goal, and highlights that nature-based solutions play a crucial role both for adaptation to climate change and biodiversity conservation, in line with the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework signed last year.
EU support to vulnerable countries already suffering the effects of climate change takes the form of contributing to economic recognition through the loss and damage fund, with a commitment to making the fund operational, with a broad donor base.
The Commission reports that in 2022 the EU contributed a record €28.5 billion in public climate finance (around $30 billion), reporting that globally, preliminary OECD data indicates that the goal of 100 billion dollars was reached in 2022, however it was specified that developed countries will have to continue to increase contributions in order to achieve global climate neutrality already at the beginning of the second half of the century.
In this sense, the Union’s innovative initiative is therefore represented by the request to integrate into the negotiations of the final declaration of CCP 28 a global commitment to triple the installed capacity in renewable energy and double energy efficiency by 2030. As of 2 December they appear to have joined 118 States (including the 27 EU Member States) took part in the initiative, also in the framework of the Samoa Agreement of the Union with the Organization of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (see our column of 21.11 second paragraph). Together with the EU, the first supporters were the President of Kenya William Ruto, the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley and President Joe Biden.
Among the themes of CP 28, obviously, one cannot miss the one linked to agricultural and food systems and the natural resources on which they rely, water and soil first and foremost, plant and animal biodiversity.
It is undoubtedly an important step to analyze the food production system because as a whole – production, transformation, transport and consumption – it is responsible for 35% of greenhouse gas emissions and 15% of fossil fuels burned.
The risk is that the debate ignores the complexity of food systems, the root causes of unsustainable food insecurity, the effects of the climate crisis which disproportionately affects countries in the South of the world, as well as the power imbalances generated by the production system industrial. The danger is that we focus on technological innovations that do not question the linear, industrial and extractivist model, neglecting regenerative, more universal and strategic solutions, as highlighted by the FAO and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), adopted with success from numerous public and private initiatives around the world and based on agroecological practices.
In fact, agroecology is not just a set of agricultural practices, but a systemic vision that integrates environmental and social issues, in fact it focuses on biodiversity, the conservation of ecosystems and the skills and needs of communities. It is a model that can guarantee long-term food security for all and is recognized and promoted by food sovereignty movements and international organizations such as the United Nations.
The IPCC has specifically endorsed agroecology as a climate solution, along with the empowerment of local communities, which can improve resilience to the effects of climate change. He also said that switching to balanced and sustainable diets can help fight climate change.
Unfortunately, food-focused strategies are currently absent from more than 70% of countries’ climate plans, but such plans are a crucial tool for moving away from industrial methods of food production in favor of more sustainable farming methods, namely agroecology.
There is a need to make the world of politics understand that the agroecological direction is the most efficient to give a concrete turning point to the emissions system and the cultural aspects that determine it.