In the past few months, extreme weather events — from record-breaking heat waves and droughts to hurricanes and floods — have hammered nearly every corner of the globe, making the catastrophic impacts of climate change all too tangible. Meanwhile, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused a global food price crisis, fueling an already-present global hunger emergency and revealing the vulnerability of the globalized system of industrialized agriculture to shocks from climate change or war.
Within this context of converging climate and food system crises, global leaders and members of civil society will convene in November in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt at the 27th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP). Decades of poor policy choices and lack of climate action have shoehorned us into a moment of polycrises, but with each climate conference, governments are offered a new opportunity to evaluate the impacts of our changing climate and identify avenues of global cooperation, whether that be increasing national commitments to reduce emissions or pledging to slash methane, or setting structures and priorities for climate adaptation finance for countries facing the most severe effects of the climate crisis. At COP27, there’s an opportunity to set forth a framework to guide rules, regulations and investments to create a food and agriculture system that protects people and the planet.
IATP has engaged with the U.N. climate talks for more than two decades, advocating for bolder action to reduce emissions and deeper investments in a just transition, particularly for food and agriculture. This year, in the leadup to COP27, we are focused on a few key areas that will feature throughout the two-week conference.
We’re calling for increased international investment in the resilience of our food system. The threat from climate change and the vulnerabilities in the supply chain, made increasingly evident during the pandemic, necessitate a commitment to investment of international resources into adaptation strategies in order to truly make systems more resilient.
IATP will challenge the dodgy climate accounting concept of “Net Zero,” which in practice has allowed major polluters like agribusiness and fossil fuel companies to continue their status quo operations while using land-based carbon credits to “offset” emissions. Instead, we’ll be joining others in demanding that countries and agribusiness companies make real emissions cuts and approach “real zero.”
We'll demand international methane action. Agriculture is the world’s largest methane source, and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has urged for action on methane because it is 80 times more potent than carbon dioxide over a 20-year period and it is more short-lived. The urgency of the need to cut methane emissions has given rise to a proliferation of proposed solutions by the agribusiness industry, most of which are false solutions. Through our research on the methane emissions of some of the world’s largest livestock companies, IATP has highlighted the need to regulate emissions and move away from the high-volume industrial model of animal agriculture.
IATP will focus on promoting agroecology as a way of producing food that truly reduces emissions and builds resilience. Agroecology offers a pathway forward to transform our food systems, from production to consumption to waste management, in a way that addresses the polycrises plaguing our systems and protects and promotes biodiversity and resilience.
From on the ground in Sharm el-Sheikh, IATP will be reporting and advocating on these issues. Be sure to follow by listening to our new podcast miniseries, Uprooted: Talking COP27, where we set the stage in the leadup to COP27, dig deeper into the issues we’ll be tracking at the conference and report back on the outcomes of the November meeting.
Return to our COP27 hub for more information and to read IATP's reports and articles published in the leadup to the climate conference.