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Big investments in agroecology and climate adaptation are critical for food systems

MINNEAPOLIS/BERLIN—On the eve of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP26), the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) urges the United States and other governments to commit to major reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, rather than weak 2050 “net zero” commitments.

Since the Rio Earth Summit, IATP has worked to pressure governments at COPs to act boldly to reduce emissions and invest in a just transition for farmers, rural communities and our food system. The pandemic has tilted the negotiating playing field unfairly toward countries with an available vaccine, but regardless governments must make plans for serious climate action at COP26. At COP26 in Glasgow, IATP will focus analysis and advocacy around the following climate priorities:

  • Governmental Climate Commitments: Demanding stronger government commitments, including from the U.S., to reduce greenhouse emissions by 2030. The U.S. has an historical responsibility to make major cuts in emissions and a significant financial commitment in aid to support climate adaptation and a just transition.
  • Net Zero Pledges: Governments and corporations have made net zero pledges linked to decades in the future. But weak net zero promises by countries or major polluters, such as meat giant JBS, actually undermine urgent climate action.
  • Carbon Markets and Climate Finance: Countries will be debating climate finance and potential carbon market rules, known as Article 6. But these controversial markets have failed to reduce emissions and instead have benefited polluters and the financial industry. Governments should consider other options for climate finance within the Paris Agreement, particularly with an emphasis on climate adaptation.
  • Agriculture: A COP26 outcome should provide meaningful guidance to countries on how their food and farming system can support agroecology, ensure food security and reduce agriculture-related emissions, particularly from the factory farm system of meat and dairy production.

Prior to COP26, IATP is releasing a series of publications focused on these four themes. Publications include the following: an analysis and critique of JBS’ net zero pledge; three articles on net zero, including a primer on the Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM, an examination of meat and dairy companies’ net zero pledges and a look at the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA); and an analysis of new trade policies (including Europe’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism) and how they can align with climate goals.  

During COP26, IATP will cohost a side event on Monday, November 8 with Greenpeace International, Global Witness, Amnesty International and ActionAid International. The event, titled “Net Zero smoke and mirrors, a story of betrayal” will make the case against carbon market offsetting.

Throughout COP26, IATP staff is available for comment on COP26-related topics including but not limited to Article 6, Koronivia, the Global Methane Pledge, Agriculture Innovation Mission (AIM) for Climate, trade and the COP26 negotiating process.