TWN Briefing 1

2nd Global Conference on Agriculture, Food Security and Climate Change
3-7 September 2012, Hanoi, Vietnam

Published by Third World Network


Equity and Agriculture:

Who is responsible for agriculture emissions?

Who should bear the mitigation burden in agriculture?

Based on a briefing by Climate Justice Now! Working Group on Agriculture and Forests

FACT: Despite roughly similar numbers of cattle per capita and many more small ruminants per capita in Africa than in developed countries, the latter’s methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from livestock manure are over 10 times greater than from African countries. Why? Because confined industrial animal agriculture stores manure in immense lagoons that produce significant quantities of these greenhouse gases.

FACT: Developed countries, with 17 percent of the world population, are responsible for 26 percent of global N2O emissions from soils, 30 percent of methane CH4 emissions from enteric fermentation, and 52 percent of CH4 and N2O emissions from manure management.

FACT: Agriculture emissions from developed countries increased by nearly 17 percent between 1990 and 2005, due in good part to a massive increase in nitrogen fertilizer use in New Zealand and Australia and an increase of manure effluent of cattle, poultry and swine farms and manure application to soils in North America.

Why should developing countries assume any mitigation burden in agriculture – so that developed countries can keep increasing their agriculture emissions?

What would real ambition look like for developed countries?

Developed countries should start by setting their own targets for domestic emission reductions of methane and nitrous oxides from agriculture. Urgent, immediate, real and permanent reductions are necessary to fulfill the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s (UNFCCC) objective – to not threaten food production.

Developed countries should also set targets for new and additional adaptation funding to address already pressing adaptation needs of developing country agriculture. Urgent mobilization of means of implementation is essential to tackle the adaptation challenges that continue to mount. Sustainable, predictable and significant public funding for agricultural adaptation, through support to the Green Climate Fund and the Adaptation Fund of the UNFCCC, as well as bilateral and other multilateral climate funding mechanisms is needed.