International climate negotiations in Paris are inching towards a comprehensive agreement, reports the NFU’s Ceris Jones...
The French presidency released a cleaned-up draft of the legal text on Wednesday afternoon, now reduced from over 50 pages to 29, with many of the disputed phrases [in square brackets] having been removed. Significantly for the farmers’ representatives attending the talks, language that highlights food security and food production remains in place in the introduction: “Recognizing the fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger, and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems to the adverse impacts of climate change”.
Agriculture also features in Article 2 (the Purpose of the Agreement):
- in 2.1a it is included in one of three options, Option 3: below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, taking into account the best available science, equity, sustainable development, the need to ensure food security and the availability of means of implementation, by ensuring deep reductions in global greenhouse gas [net] emissions;”
- and it is even more firmly recognised in 2.1c: “To pursue sustainable development in a manner that fosters climate resilience and low greenhouse gas emissions, and that does not threaten food production and distribution;”
Right now, the key objective is for negotiators to settle their remaining differences on the text before Friday evening, although many expect talks to drag on into the weekend. This may not look like much, but it represents real progress for the world’s farmers.
More detailed work on agricultural adaptation to climate change is now likely to be taken forward by a secondary working group, the Subsidiary Body for Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA).
Click here to download and read the draft legal agreement in its current version (warning: it’s not exactly in plain English).