Agriculture and climate change
There is a strong interconnections between agriculture and the natural environment. Agriculture impacts on the surrounding environment through soil, water and air pollution, the quality of landscapes, biodiversity. Agricultural practices can be both direct causes of and important solutions to environmental degradation, and particularly climate change. Today, agriculture contributes about 14 percent of annual greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and land-use change, including forest loss, contributes another 19 percent. The relative contributions differ dramatically by region. The developing world accounts for about 50 percent of agricultural emissions and 80 percent of land-use change and forestry emissions. The importance of environmental sustainability has been recognised as Goal Seven of the MDGs. Policy coherence for development requires both vigorous EU policies on domestic mitigation to slow the onset of climate change and generous responses to the critical support needed by developing countries to adapt to climate change..
Developing Countries and Climate Change
Climate change will have dramatic consequences for developing country agriculture. Water sources will become more variable, droughts and floods will stress agricultural systems, some coastal food-producing areas will be inundated by the seas, and food production will fall in some places in the interior. Developing economies and the poorest of the poor likely will be hardest hit. In general, nearly all future scenarios indicate that Africa is expected to be worse hit by climate change. Overall, however, substantial uncertainty remains about where the effects will be greatest.
Carbon markets and the rural poor
"Carbon offsetting” means to compensate emissions which cannot be avoided by paying someone else to save – sequester ‐ GHGs.Changed agricultural practices and forestry can help to sequester GHG in developing countries, and this creates the potential to sell carbon credits and thus generate revenue for smallholder agriculture. Selling carbon offsets to developed countries is allowed under the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. However, at the moment, the rules for Agriculture, Forestry and Land use (AFOLU) projects in CDM only allow for specific types of projects in developing countries and most forms of agricultural mitigation are excluded from the CDM.
In the current political discussions various countries support the inclusion of reduced emissiions from deforestation and forest degradation, agriculture and wetlands in the Kyoto Protocol. Establishing robust Monitoring, Reporting and Verification requirements is a key prerequisite. This means that in future different types of AFOLU projects could be registered under CDM. There’s some controversy about whether or not this should be allowed, as well as about the mechanisms to make that happen.However, as the Copenhagen meeting in December 2009 did not lead to a legally binding agreement, no decisions have been taken on the proposed changes
FAO's website on climate change and agriculture
Links to FAO publications, reports and activities on climate change and agriculture
Global Donor Platform for Rural Development website on Agriculture and Climate Change
Key readings and documents relating to agriculture and climate change and development. Particularly useful are its Key Links (links to websites of key global organisations working on agriculture and climate change) and Key Readings (references to publications produced by development organisations on agriculture and climate change).
ICTSD-IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade: Promoting Policy Coherence
The goal of the platform is to promote increased policy coherence to ensure effective climate change mitigation and adaptation, food security and a more open and equitable global food system.
Oxfam GB Climate change website
Contains links to reports on how climate change is affecting people around the world based on Oxfam experiences
See Key Readings section of the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development
Lists publications and reports on developing country agriculture and climate change from institutions around the world
Keane, J., Page, S., Kergna, A., and Kennan, J., Climate Change and Developing Country Agriculture: An Overview of Expected Impacts, Adaptation and Mitigation Challenges, and Funding Requirements (PDF), ICTSD–IPC Platform on Climate Change, Agriculture and Trade, Issue Brief No.2, 2009.
Discusses adaptation and mitigation options for developing country agriculture and possible new sources of finance
ODI, Mitigating Climate Change: What Impact on the Poor (PDF), 2008
ODI briefing paper investigating the impacts that climate change is likely to have on developing countries.
UN, Climate Change and the Most Vulnerable Countries: The Imperative to Act (PDF), 2008
Background paper presented to the UN General Assembly detailing the Impacts and Vulnerabilities of climate change on developing countries