Climate Change en IATP comments to the Council on Environmental Quality on the "National Environmental Policy Act Implementing Regulations Revisions" <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/sharon-anglin-treat" hreflang="en">Sharon Anglin Treat</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>To read the full comment, please <a href="">download a PDF of the comment</a>. </em></p> <p>Dear Chair Mallory:</p> <p>The Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP) appreciates the opportunity to provide comments on the CEQ’s October 7, 2021 proposed revisions to National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations. IATP is a 35-year-old 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Minneapolis, Minnesota.</p> <p>We work at the local, state, national and international levels to create fair and sustainable agriculture and trade systems that benefit family farmers, rural communities and the environment, including addressing climate impacts.<sup>1 </sup>The comments herein are intended to supplement comments IATP is submitting jointly with the Animal Legal Defense Fund. That submission particularly addresses the need for the CEQ to reverse a series of provisions in the 2020 NEPA rules that excluded review of federal financing of Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) and which in multiple ways narrowed the scope of review and alternatives analysis with respect to federal actions related to these operations. IATP’s policy analysis and advocacy extend to a wide range of federal actions related to rural communities and farms that have been or will be affected by the 2020 NEPA rule revisions. Our work includes how climate change threatens the viability of agriculture and how agriculture itself significantly contributes to climate altering greenhouse gas emissions.<sup>2 </sup></p> <p>CEQ’s proposed rule<sup>3</sup> will better align agency guidance with the statutory intent of NEPA, and with more than 40 years of judicial interpretation and practical implementation that has cemented the law as the cornerstone of our national environmental policy. IATP generally supports the proposed revisions, as far as they go. We wish to highlight the importance of moving quickly, however, to restore the full scope of longstanding NEPA policy that was in effect until 2020. We understand that this rulemaking is Phase 1 of CEQ’s proposed restoration; we encourage CEQ to move forward as soon as practicable with the remaining portions of its rulemaking in order to restore NEPA’s effectiveness as a tool for careful and inclusive environmental decision-making.</p> <p>IATP strongly supports the proposed changes to restore and codify longstanding NEPA policy including:</p> <ul><li>that the full range of reasonable alternatives are considered when a project is reviewed;</li> <li>that the purpose and need for the project not be limited to the applicant’s goals;</li> <li>that all reasonably foreseeable adverse impacts are disclosed and considered, including so called</li> <li>indirect impacts;</li> <li>that cumulative impacts, which may individually be minor but collectively significant, must be</li> <li>considered; and</li> <li>that individual agencies should be allowed, as they had been for 40 years, to address criteria and establish procedures consistent with NEPA that augment those listed in the CEQ’s rules, to reflect specialized agency expertise and authority; in other words, the CEQ’s guidance should be considered a floor, not a ceiling.</li> </ul><p><strong>To continue reading, please <a href="">click here</a>. </strong></p> <p> </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Fri, 19 Nov 2021 18:16:52 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44689 at CLARA Statement on COP26 Outcomes <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>CLARA</p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em><span><span>IATP is part of the </span></span>Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance (<a href="">CLARA</a>). This year, <span><span>IATP participated in CLARA’s <a href="">Net Zero Files</a> and in remote support of CLARA members in Glasgow at COP26, including on the Article 6 negotiations. In addition to releasing our own <a href="">press release</a> upon the conclusion of the COP26 negotations, IATP contributed to </span></span><span><span>CLARA's </span></span>statement in reaction to the end of COP26, see below. </em></p> <h3><strong>Climate Land Ambition and Rights Alliance Statement on Closing of COP 26</strong></h3> <p>The science is clear: we are facing “Code Red for Humanity.” COP 26 started with soaring rhetoric promising to ‘keep 1.5 alive.’ Once again though, this COP has failed to listen to science and give credence to the peoples’ voices ringing outside the negotiating rooms of the COP and those taking to the streets calling for climate justice.</p> <p>One bright spot, however, is the agreement on the Glasgow Committee on Non-Market Approaches and the forthcoming work program. CLARA is committed to seeing these approaches succeed in order to enable enhanced cooperation on mitigation and adaptation in order to provide communities with the support they need for climate action. But the market based mechanisms in the rest of Article 6 risk undermining real climate action with offsets that do nothing to enhance ambition to keep temperature rise below 1.5 (see more below).</p> <h3><strong>Failures continue</strong></h3> <p>Six years after adoption of the Paris Agreement, and more than a decade after the initial commitment, developed countries have failed to fulfill their climate finance pledge of $100 billion per year for the developing countries recognizing their historical responsibility for the climate crisis. Despite this continued failure, COP 26 did not bring with it new commitments or even a delivery plan to meet the pledge immediately or how to cover the shortfall.</p> <p>The UK presidency, after spending much of this summer talking up the potential of COP 26, failed to persuade Parties to sufficiently raise ambition. There is no way to meet the Paris Agreement goals and say 1.5°C is still alive without reducing emissions by 45% from 2010 levels by 2030. The outcome of this COP in no way demonstrates a real commitment to meet that crucial target.</p> <p>Rich countries, especially the United States, once again blocked needed action to set up a financing mechanism for loss and damage. These parties fail to recognize their historic responsibility for the climate crisis and block needed ambition.</p> <h3><strong>Calls for Equity, Ambition and Paradigm Shift</strong></h3> <p>It is not new for a COP to witness a plethora of new pledges and commitments made by developed countries and various non-state actors, often using the COP premises, but outside the purview of multilateral climate actions. These parallel actions fail to address the inherent inequity that these promises propagate, their exclusionist nature, and the real impacts they may have on the rights of Indigenous Peoples and local communities (IPLCs), women, farmers, fisherfolks and workers who are the most climate impacted, but least responsible for causing the crisis.</p> <p>CLARA members are clear that the need for immediate climate action cannot be accelerated through false hopes and solutions embedded in the mad race for nature based solutions and net zero pledges.</p> <h3><strong>Article 6 Outcome Fact Sheet</strong></h3> <p>CLARA members are deeply concerned that the decision on the Article 6 mechanisms creates such significant loopholes that they could eliminate any remaining opportunity to get the world on a 1.5°C pathway.</p> <ul><li> <p>Good: Only a Non-Market approach based on science informed Ambition and historically informed Equity can save Humanity and our planet from Code Red.</p> </li> <li> <p>Good: CLARA welcomes the forward and positive movement to push for a non-market climate mechanism through Article 6.8 and urges Parties to further strengthen the work programme and expedite its time bound implementation to address the need for joint mitigation and adaptation measures, technology transfer, capacity building and mobilization of additional public finance to raise ambition and address inequity, further exacerbated by the COVID pandemic.</p> </li> <li> <p>Medium: The operative texts across Article 6 incorporate language on human rights, including the rights of Indigenous Peoples, but weakly and fail to include human rights in key elements such as 6.4 activity design and to include references to essential international standards, including Indigenous Peoples’ right to free, prior and informed consent.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: Major risks remain that these mechanisms will contribute to trading nothing more than hot air and will exacerbate the climate crisis by allowing governments and corporations to continue business as usual, albeit under a plethora of new standards and accounting rules.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: All the while, they risk irreversible impacts on nature – land, forests, and oceans – and the vulnerable and marginal communities that they nurture – Indigenous Peoples and local communities, women, fisherfolks, farmers, and workers.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: Markets and climate policies dictated by corporates and carbon traders, have, as their primary objective, reducing the costs of mitigation in the private sector. Such a narrow and self-serving objective will never be able to realize transformative social, economic and environmental changes. We need a paradigm shift. We need immediate phasing out of fossil fuels. Nature should not become the engine of new commodity creation in the form of carbon offsets that can never offset fossil fuel use. We need full support, fair share and adequate finance for grounded climate action led by the climate vulnerable frontline communities.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: Article 6.4’s adoption could give way to a flood of speculative money into carbon, disconnected from the underlying natural assets on which the credits are based. The emergence of a ‘subprime’ market for cheap credits is a serious concern that has barely been considered by Parties. But the International Emissions Trading Association continues to argue for measures that create conditions for trading carbon globally.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: The rules allow for carry-over of zombie emissions reductions credits from the CDM dating back to 2013 allowed for use in countries’ first NDCs.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: Weak commitment to the overall mitigation of global emissions (OMGE) with no mandatory requirement to cancel credits from 6.2 to contribute to OMGE and only a requirement to automatically cancel 2% from 6.4.</p> </li> <li> <p>Bad: Irrespective of the outcomes of the Article 6 negotiations, recognizing the climate science and keeping the benchmark of 1.5 degree in mind, CLARA strongly believes that carbon markets, offsets and Kyoto Protocol style CDM, rebranded as a sustainable development mechanism, are counter-productive responses to Code Red.</p> </li> </ul><p><strong>Continue reading and download a PDF of the statement <a href="">here</a>. </strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 15 Nov 2021 16:44:19 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44686 at Countries come up short again at COP26, agriculture largely sidelined <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Stronger emissions reduction targets, deeper investments in agroecology and adaptation needed</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong>MINNEAPOLIS/BERLIN</strong>—The logistic and pandemic-challenged United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP26) concluded this weekend. At COP26, countries once again failed to meet the urgency of the climate crisis, including for the world’s food and farming systems, stated the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Governments fell short on emission reduction commitments to meet the 1.5˚C target, consistent with the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Workstreams on agriculture continued without resolution, side-stepping the need to both reduce emissions from global meat and dairy companies and invest in more climate-resilient, agroecological farming systems. Countries continued to spend vast amounts of time and resources attempting to set rules for a global carbon market, despite clear evidence that such market-based approaches are deeply flawed, increase inequality and fail to meet the urgency of the climate crisis.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Perhaps because of the imminence of the climate emergency detailed in the IPCC report, at this COP, delegates negotiated Article 6 with more attention than in past COPs to reducing global carbon emissions,” said IATP Senior Policy Analyst Steve Suppan. “Prior to the COP, there were two positive developments: 1) IPCC scientists reported that biogenic carbon (e.g., soil carbon sequestration) does not offset fossil fuel emissions, and 2) the Science Based Targets initiative’s (SBTi) new Corporate Net Zero Standard will not accept forestry and agriculture-based offset credits as meeting the scientific criteria of its new standard. However, more COP delegate time and energy continued to be devoted into legitimizing emissions offset markets than to mobilizing public finance under Article 6.8 to enable the most vulnerable countries to adapt to climate change. That skewed negotiating priority was shocking, in view of the IPCC and SBTi reports, but it wasn’t surprising.”</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Net-zero claims by both countries and companies that rely deeply on land-based offsets continue to hold back efforts to meet a 1.5˚C target,” said Ben Lilliston, director of rural strategies and climate change at IATP. “Just as countries have to come to terms with fossil fuel subsidies and a phaseout of coal, they need to respond to rising emissions from the factory farm system driven by global meat and dairy companies.”   </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>The Global Methane Pledge, signed by more than 100 governments, represents a significant step in acknowledging the urgent need to slash emissions from this short-lived pollutant. The commitment to reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030, and to hold a methane ministerial each year to assess progress, offers an opportunity to hold countries accountable. But the pledge is weak in its commitment to take on a major source of methane: large-scale, industrial meat and dairy production. Agriculture contributes around 40% of global anthropogenic sources of methane emissions, with livestock accounting for <a href="">32% of agriculture emissions</a>. The pledge should include a timeline and concrete targets for methane reductions from large-scale industrial livestock. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>While challenged by the pandemic, COP26 continued a pattern of poor organizing by the United Nations officials, resulting in the exclusion of many developing country delegates and civil society participants. Barriers to full participation by all countries and civil society involvement led to a weaker agreement.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Prior to COP26, IATP released a <a href="">series of publications</a> including: an analysis and critique of global meat giant JBS’ net zero pledge; a primer on the Task Force on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM); an examination of meat and dairy companies’ net zero pledges; 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 these policies can align with climate goals.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>During COP26, IATP cohosted a <a href="">side event</a> on November 8 with Greenpeace International, Global Witness, Amnesty International and ActionAid International. The event, titled “Net Zero smoke and mirrors, a story of betrayal,” made a strong case against carbon market offsetting. In net-zero pledges, countries and companies often rely heavily on offsets, rather than real emissions cuts. Net-zero pledges are voluntary pledges and not attached to any enforcement mechanisms. "Voluntary schemes are no match for regulatory schemes," said Shefali Sharma, director of IATP Europe, during the side event.</span></span></span></p> <p><strong><a href="">Download a PDF of the press release</a>. </strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 15 Nov 2021 16:21:57 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44685 at Magical thinking on fertilizer and climate change <span>Magical thinking on fertilizer and climate change</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Thu, 11/11/2021 - 10:08</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>The following article was originally published on <a href="">IPS News</a> on November 9, 2021. </em></p> <p>As world leaders wrap up the U.N. Climate Summit in Glasgow, new scientific research shows that there is still a great deal of magical thinking about the contribution of fertilizer to global warming.</p></div> Thu, 11 Nov 2021 16:08:48 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44683 at A new trade vision for a Green New Deal <span>A new trade vision for a Green New Deal</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/10/2021 - 14:34</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><em>The following article was originally published on <a href="">Business &amp; Human Rights Resource Centre</a> on November 9, 2021. </em></p></div> Wed, 10 Nov 2021 20:34:18 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44681 at A fuller picture of the real climate costs of synthetic fertilizers <span>A fuller picture of the real climate costs of synthetic fertilizers</span> <span><span lang="" about="/user/34897" typeof="schema:Person" property="schema:name" datatype="">Cecelia Heffron</span></span> <span>Wed, 11/03/2021 - 10:56</span> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span>The unfolding climate catastrophe is front and center at the U.N. climate talks, where governments will make promises to reduce emissions, some sooner than others, with some of those promises more convincing than others. The best of those promises and plans start from solid, up to the minute data about the real causes of emissions and are grounded in solutions that work for all affected people and environments. </span></span></span></p></div> Wed, 03 Nov 2021 15:56:12 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44678 at Methane agreement is a good first step, agriculture sidestepped <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Factory farm animal production gets a free pass, United States and European Union should take action</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><strong>MINNEAPOLIS/BERLIN</strong>—<span><span><span>Today, the United States and the European Union, along with more than 90 countries, announced a joint pledge to reduce methane emissions 30% by 2030. According to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (<a href="">IATP</a>), the agreement is a good first step that countries recognize the urgent need to cut potent methane emissions, but the pledge is missing an immediate and strong commitment to take on a major source of methane: large-scale, industrial meat and dairy production.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Agriculture contributes around 40% of global anthropogenic sources of methane emissions, with livestock accounting for <a href="">32% of agriculture emissions</a>. Any global agreement must include a timeline and concrete targets for methane reductions from large-scale industrial livestock systems. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Today, the Biden administration announced a Methane Emissions Reduction Plan that focuses primarily on expanding factory farm gas production from massive manure lagoons through public subsidies. The plan runs counter to calls earlier this year from U.S. rural and environmental justice groups for the <a href="">Biden administration’s Environmental Protection Agency to regulate methane emissions</a> for large-scale dairy and hog operations. Rising U.S. agricultural methane emissions stem from large-scale hog and dairy factory farms and associated liquid manure. This factory farm system is also linked to air and water pollution, the loss of independent family farms and harm to the quality of life for rural residents. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Fifty percent of methane emissions in the EU come from agriculture, primarily livestock, while unsustainable livestock practices have also led to significant nitrate and ammonia-related pollution. The EU’s revision to its climate package, including its Effort Sharing Regulation, does not have concrete targets to reduce agriculture emissions, let alone emissions from the livestock industry. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Methane from the factory farm system of livestock production should be a key target for emissions reductions by the U.S., EU and other massive livestock exporting countries in the global methane pledge. The growth of the factory farm system in the U.S. is contributing to rising agriculture emissions, driving out independent family farmers and polluting the air and rural waterways. The Biden administration’s strategy to use public spending to prop up an expensive factory farm gas system creates perverse incentives to produce more manure, and more water and air pollution for rural communities,” said Ben Lilliston, IATP director of rural strategies and climate change.</span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>“Action on methane can’t be based on techno-fixes such as new feed additives and factory farm gas (or biogas digestors) as the EU alludes to in its campaign pledge. These are band aids on a broken system of rising animal numbers, more methane, and air, land and water pollution. The EU should ensure that joining the pledge translates to demands on EU member states to move away from an export-led model of mass livestock production. EU action should not result in incentivizing further proliferation of this destructive model,” said Shefali Sharma, director of IATP’s European office. “For agricultural methane to decrease significantly, public policy in the U.S., EU and globally must begin to appropriately regulate livestock emissions and redirect public funds to support farmers in a Just Transition towards biodiverse, agroecological systems of animal production.” </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>Noticeably absent from the countries that signed onto the Methane Agreement are Russia, China and India. All three are major livestock producers. Russia and China have embraced the high-emitting factory farm system. India has plans for the expansion of both domestic and export largescale dairy. However, leadership must come from the U.S. and EU to regulate livestock emissions as part of the pledge. It would have an enormous impact in driving global cooperation to reduce agricultural methane emissions.</span></span></span></p> <p><strong><span><span><span><a href="">Download a PDF of the press release</a>. </span></span></span></strong></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 02 Nov 2021 17:03:39 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44677 at New research shows 50 year binge on chemical fertilisers must end to address the climate crisis <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author-text field--type-text-long field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author (free form)</div> <div class="field--item"><p>Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, GRAIN, Greenpeace International </p> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-feature"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2021-11/Yara_Belle_Plaine.jpg?itok=BZZmQW2N" width="950" height="590" alt="Yara fertilizers " typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-credit-flickr field--type-string field--label-hidden field--item">Used under creative commons license from <a href=" ">Greenpeace </a></div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p>The rising costs of synthetic nitrogen (N) fertilisers, triggered by a spike in natural gas prices, has governments panicking about a catastrophic global food crisis. At the same time, new research shows that synthetic N fertilisers are a major driver of the climate crisis, responsible for 1 out every 40 tonnes of GHGs currently pumped into the atmosphere. As the 26th UN Climate Change Conference gets underway, now is the time for the world to kick its addiction to synthetic N fertilisers and urgently transition to farming without fossil fuels and chemicals.</p> <p>The new research <span><span><span>—</span></span></span> undertaken by three scientists working with Greenpeace, IATP and GRAIN<span><span><span> — </span></span></span>provides the first estimate of the global climate impacts of synthetic N fertilisers to cover the entire production chain, from manufacturing to soil application. It finds that the production and use of synthetic N fertiliser accounts for 2.4% of global emissions, making it one of the top climate polluting industrial chemicals. The synthetic N fertiliser supply chain was responsible for estimated emissions of 1,250 million tonnes of CO2e in 2018, which is roughly 21.5% of the annual direct emissions from agriculture (5,800 million tonnes). For comparison, the global emissions from commercial aviation in 2018 were around 900 million tonnes of CO2.</p> <p>The majority of emissions from synthetic N fertilisers occur after they are applied to the soil and enter the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O) <span><span><span>—</span></span></span> a persistent greenhouse gas with 265 times more global warming potential than CO2. But, what is less discussed is that almost 40% of the greenhouse gas emissions of synthetic N fertilisers occur in production and transport, largely in the form of CO2 caused by the burning of fossil fuels during manufacture. Added up, a full accounting of emissions from synthetic N fertiliser shows how it is a major source of climate pollution that needs to be rapidly and drastically reduced. Synthetic N fertilisers have increased by a whopping 800% since the 1960s according to the IPCC, and the new research confirms that climate pollution from their production and use is on course to get much worse if actions are not taken to reverse these trends (Graphic 1). Worldwide use of synthetic N fertilisers is set to increase by over 50% by 2050, according to the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation.</p> <p><br /><img alt="fertilizer graphic 1 " data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="270a9131-8665-4e93-86ad-4e3542e68ca3" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/gertilizer%201.jpg" /></p> <p><em><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span><span>Graphic 1. Consumption of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser from 1961-2018, in tonnes of nitrogen</span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></span></em></p> <p>The research also finds that emissions from synthetic N fertilisers are highly concentrated in certain geographic areas. The main emitters are China, India ,North America and Europe. But, on a per capita basis, the highest emitters are the big agricultural export countries of North America (U.S. and Canada), South America (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) Australia/New Zealand and Europe (Denmark, France, Ireland, Ukraine). Worldwide, emissions keep growing every year, including in Africa, where fertiliser use is now growing rapidly.</p> <h3>A not-so-green revolution</h3> <p>Since the 1960s, there has been a concerted effort on the part of the multilateral development banks such as the World Bank, governments, donors and agribusiness corporations to support the widespread adoption of a so-called "green revolution" model of agriculture. This model is based on the development and adoption of varieties of certain staple crops (mainly wheat, rice and maize) that are short and stocky (called semi-dwarf) and capable of producing high yields when heavily dosed with chemical fertilisers and sprayed with pesticides. By way of massive government programmes and subsidies, the green revolution varieties quickly replaced local varieties and generated a huge boom in the global use of chemical fertilisers. They also kicked in a vicious cycle, in which more and more chemical fertilisers had to be applied to sustain yields. Today, only around 20-30% of the synthetic N fertilisers applied to fields are converted to foods, with the rest running off into water bodies and entering the environment as pollution. Not only is this heating up the planet, but it is also destroying the ozone layer and causing a global crisis of algae blooms and oceanic “dead zones”. Some say the green revolution enabled production to meet the increasing global demand for food, but the narrow focus on a small number of crops and on varieties dependent on chemical inputs caused numerous environmental and social problems. It also distracted from other approaches that could have increased food production without generating the massive consumption of chemical fertilisers. And it has left the world vulnerable to food price spikes and shortages triggered or exacerbated by rising prices for chemical fertilisers and their inputs, as we are now seeing with the energy crisis hitting many countries. Today, these agro-chemicals are controlled by a small number of global corporations that wield enormous political clout, such as the Norwegian nitrogen fertiliser giant Yara.</p> <p>The fertiliser lobby has spent several decades maintaining that the excessive use of synthetic N fertiliser can be resolved through more precise application -- what they call "precision agriculture" or "climate-smart agriculture". Yet the new research on synthetic N fertiliser emissions finds no evidence that programmes to increase efficiency have had any significant impact. In most world regions, there has been no significant increase in crop production per unit of synthetic N fertiliser applied (Graphic 2). In Canada, for instance, farmers participating in the fertiliser industry's "4R Nutrient Stewardship Programme" have actually ended up using more fertilisers and using them more inefficiently.</p> <p>Canada's emissions from synthetic N fertilisers have accelerated in recent years, alongside use rates, making it one of the top emitters of greenhouse gases from synthetic N fertilisers on a per capita basis (Graphic 3).</p> <p><img alt="fertilizer graphic 2" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="945c38d7-c247-402b-8fea-e4d545a06d0a" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/fertilizer%202.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Graphic 2. Crop production (tonnes) per tonne of elemental N contained in the synthetic<br /> N fertiliser applied from 1961-2018</em></p> <p> </p> <p><img alt="fertilizer report graphic 3" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="022d2567-eee9-4d75-b7ec-1c2a2001eda6" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/image%203.jpg" /></p> <p><em>Graphic 3. Synthetic N fertiliser carbon footprint per capita (tCO2e/capita)</em></p> <p>Another key driver behind today's excessive use of N fertilisers is the ongoing decoupling of crops and livestock. A growing percentage of the world's livestock is now raised on factory farms, and feedlots that dependent on industrial animal feeds, often produced in other countries. As a result, those farms now growing feed crops utilise synthetic N fertilisers, rather than the animal manure that would have traditionally provided their fields with nitrogen. The separation of livestock and crops, and the concentration of export production in certain parts of the world, has broken the soil nutrient cycle, and greatly increased the use of chemical fertilisers.</p> <h3>What needs to be done?</h3> <p>If the world stands a chance at effectively dealing with the climate crisis, industrial farming systems that depend on synthetic N fertilisers and other chemical inputs must be replaced with agroecological farming systems that do not use chemicals and local food systems in which animals and feed sources are fully integrated.</p> <p>This phase-out of synthetic N fertilisers must begin by replacing the green revolution varieties of crops with seeds that can thrive without the use of chemical fertilisers. The seed companies that now dominate the global seed market have not and will not pursue plant breeding in this direction. As pesticide manufacturers, they have a vested interest in the green revolution model. Change has to come from revitalising and supporting the farmer-based seed and knowledge systems that are best able to provide seeds and practices adapted to local conditions and able to produce nutritious and abundant food without chemicals. Similarly, farmer knowledge of organic fertilisers and alternatives to building soil fertility, which has been lost to much of the world, needs to be rebuilt, shared and implemented so that the current dependency on chemical fertilisers can be overcome.</p> <p>A global phase-out of synthetic N fertilisers must also be accompanied by a phase-out of industrial livestock. Industrial feed, meat and dairy production is not only a major driver of synthetic N fertiliser use, but a huge source of greenhouse gas emissions and a major killer of forests and biodiversity.</p> <p>Technical and economic obstacles are not what is standing in the way of a global phase-out of synthetic N fertilisers. It is the hold of the agribusiness lobby on powerful governments that must be confronted and broken to affect meaningful change. The fertiliser industry, and its business and government allies, are peddling a false notion that emissions can be sufficiently reduced through a more precise application of fertilisers, without any major changes to the industrial model of agriculture and the structure of the global food system. This is simply not true, and a dangerous distraction from the industry's ongoing efforts to ramp up fertiliser use, especially now in Africa.</p> <p>Agribusiness corporations have a vested interest in the heavy use of synthetic N fertilisers <span><span><span>—</span></span></span> from the giant N fertiliser companies like Yara and CF Industries, to the seed and pesticide companies like Bayer and Syngenta, to the corporations that control the trade in meat, dairy and animal feed like Cargill and Bunge. The market for synthetic N fertilisers alone is worth over US$70 billion.</p> <p>They will continue to promote and defend synthetic N fertilisers at all policy-making levels, including at COP 26.</p> <p>People and the planet must come before corporate profits. There needs to be a global phase-out of N synthetic fertilisers if we are to end agriculture’s contribution to the climate and other ecological crises. That phase-out must start now.</p> <h2>Downloads</h2> <p><a href="">Download a PDF of the brief</a>. </p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Tue, 02 Nov 2021 02:03:50 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44676 at Carbon tariffs and fertilizers: Wrong fit for purpose <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category has-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/karen-hansen-kuhn" hreflang="en">Karen Hansen-Kuhn</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-media field--type-entity-reference field--label-hidden field--items"> <div class="field--item"><article class="media media-image view-mode-feature"> <div class="field field--name-field-image field--type-image field--label-hidden field--item"> <img src="/sites/default/files/styles/feat/public/2021-10/Fertilizer_Millennium%20Promise.jpg?itok=GEy2ui6y" width="950" height="590" alt="Fertilizer bags" typeof="foaf:Image" class="img-responsive" /> </div> </article> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p class="normal">One of the most vexing issues in international climate debates is how to balance each country’s ambitions and responsibility. Clearly, all nations need to pull out all the stops to reverse the deepening climate crisis. This will necessitate much more ambitious actions by governments to drive transitions away from fossil fuels and highly emitting production of industrial goods and to do so in a way that serves the interests of workers and consumers fairly. It also means serious changes in how we produce the commodities we need to live, including food.</p> <p class="normal">The role of industrial agriculture in contributing to climate change has come into sharper focus in recent years. There is increasing attention to methane emissions generated by <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">meat and dairy</span></a> production, as well as rising carbon <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">emissions from deforestation</span></a> and other land use changes resulting from the expansion of livestock and agricultural production. For the climate, it is not only the amount of meat and dairy production that matters, but also how it is produced.</p> <p class="normal">Large scale production of crops for food, feed and biofuels has become increasingly dependent on the use of synthetic fertilizers that also generate significant emissions. Nitrogen fertilizers generate nitrous oxide (N<span class="CharOverride-1">2</span>O), which is estimated at <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">about 6%</span></a> of global greenhouse gas emissions using carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalents. But these emissions have an outsized impact on global warming. According to the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">U.S. Environmental Protection Agency</span></a>, “Nitrous oxide molecules stay in the atmosphere for an average of 114 years before being removed by a sink or destroyed through chemical reactions. The impact of 1 pound of N<span class="CharOverride-1">2</span>O on warming the atmosphere is almost 300 times that of 1 pound of carbon dioxide.” Global <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">N</span><span class="Hyperlink_02 CharOverride-1">2</span><span class="Hyperlink_02">O emissions have increased 30%</span></a> since 1980, with two-thirds of that increase coming from agriculture. Emissions from fertilizers result both from the overapplication of fertilizers by farmers around the world and from the production process itself, which utilizes substantial energy from fossil fuels.</p> <p class="normal">Efforts are underway in many countries to improve fertilizer production processes, so they are more efficient and less emitting. But should public policy be directed to produce fertilizers with lower emissions, or to change from fertilizer intensive farming systems toward agroecological systems that use fewer fertilizers altogether?</p> <p class="normal">These issues could be debated at the upcoming Conference of Parties (COP) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), where countries will make commitments to reduce emissions in many sectors, including in agriculture. Those aspirations, however, could be undermined by enforceable trade commitments at the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the web of bilateral and plurilateral free trade agreements that are designed to facilitate flows of goods, services and investments regardless of the climate or social impacts. In the gap between expanding climate ambitions and outdated global trade rules, the EU has stepped in with a new proposal for a Carbon Border Adjustment Measure (CBAM) to create a patch for domestic producers.</p> <p class="normal">If companies in one country are pursuing ambitious plans to reduce emissions, whether in industry or agriculture, that transition could result in higher prices, creating incentives to import from countries with lower standards and cheaper prices or to shift production to those countries. These shifts in sourcing or production due to the cost of emission reductions measures are called carbon leakages. The extent to which leakages happen in general is unclear, but if they happen, the effectiveness of the national emissions reduction policies could be reduced or eliminated altogether.</p> <p class="normal">In July, the European Commission (EC) launched its plans for a CBAM to address potential leakages in the trade of a few industrial goods, including fertilizers. In the U.S., Democrats have introduced draft legislation for “<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">polluter import fees</span></a>”. In both cases, the idea is to ensure that domestic producers who are trying to transition to cleaner production methods are not undermined by cheaper imports with higher emissions.</p> <h2>CBAM basics and controversies</h2> <p class="normal">While the idea of Carbon Border Adjustment Measures has been around for years, the EC proposal is the first to offer details. The <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Commission submitted its plan to</span></a> the European Parliament in July 2021. The Parliament will discuss and possibly amend it moving forward. The 291-page document covers a few highly emitting industries: steel, electricity generation, cement, aluminum and fertilizers. It covers direct emissions from those sectors, not the emissions embodied in goods using those inputs, at least for now. This means that fertilizer imports are covered, for example, but not the crops produced from those fertilizers. Taken together, those sectors represent <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">94% of EU industrial emissions</span></a>. <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Europe imports</span></a> substantial electricity from Switzerland, Russia and Ukraine; cement from Belarus, Colombia, Turkey and Ukraine; steel from China, Russia, Turkey, the U.K. and Ukraine; and nitrogen fertilizers from Russia, Egypt, Algeria, Trinidad and Tobago, Ukraine and Morocco.</p> <p class="normal">The EU proposal for a CBAM is tied to its Emissions Trading System (ETS). Under that system, companies receive allowances for a set level of emissions, with the permitted emissions levels declining over time. If a company produces fewer emissions than the limits established under the allowance, it can trade the allowances with other companies with higher emissions. The CBAM proposal would require foreign companies exporting the targeted goods to the EU to pay a fee based on plant level emissions and tied to the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">current cost of carbon in the EU</span></a>, about €56 per ton as of September 2021 (about US$65 and expected to rise over time). The actual fee would be reduced if the exporting company is already paying carbon taxes or subject to programs similar to the ETS in their home countries. The idea is that this would level the playing field for domestic companies with higher costs resulting from plant modernization or other emission reduction measures.</p> <p class="normal">EU companies in the sectors included in the CBAM currently receive free emissions allowances, which were supposed to help shelter those industries from carbon leakages. Carbon Market Watch has reported on the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">extent to which those industries have profited</span></a> from the free allowances and related mechanisms, which have also reduced incentives to make substantial emissions reductions. CBAM was supposed to be an alternative to the free allowances, but instead, after heavy pressure from industry, those free allowances would be phased out as the CBAM is phased in over a ten-year period beginning in 2026. This would also reduce incentives for trading partners to make changes quickly, since the first three years would just be a reporting period, with the CBAM fees phased in over the next decade. <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Agnese Ruggiero</span></a> at Carbon Market Watch comments that, “The Commission is doing things backwards. A CBAM that opens the door to free allowances beyond 2030 [the EU’s target date for a 55 percent reduction in emissions] is worse than having no CBAM at all. Such an exemption would let large polluters completely off the hook and send a very negative signal internationally.”</p> <p class="normal">U.S. proposals for a carbon border fee are at an earlier stage of development. The Fair, Affordable, Innovative, and Resilient Transition and Competition Act (or FAIR Transition and Competition Act, which has been <a href=";r=6"><span class="Hyperlink_02">introduced in the Senate</span></a> and House of Representatives), provides one possible approach. It would set in motion a process “to account for<span class="Hyperlink_02"> </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">the cost incurred by U.S. businesses to comply with</span></a> laws and regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions.” The bill would initially cover natural gas, coal and petroleum, as well as steel, cement, iron and aluminum (and goods made up of 50% or more of those inputs).</p> <p class="normal">Importers would pay a fee equivalent to the cost of those regulations. While it is limited to a few sectors, the bill would establish a process to gather data on costs from various U.S. agencies (including the Department of Agriculture), leaving open the possibility of including agricultural inputs or products in the future. It would exempt Least Developed Countries, countries that have laws to limit greenhouse gases that are at least as ambitious as those in the U.S. and countries that do not impose border carbon taxes on U.S. goods. The ideas raised in this bill represent one approach to a CBAM in the U.S.; others could well be raised in the future.</p> <p class="normal">The EC plan is designed with an eye toward avoiding conflicts at the WTO, but it is unclear whether it would be legal under current rules on discrimination against importers.<span class="Hyperlink_02"> </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Article XX of the GATT</span></a> allows for exceptions to “protect human, animal, or plant life or health” or when they are related “to the conservation of exhaustible natural resources”, as long as it is clear that environmental protection — not protecting local industry — is the main objective. Clearly, any CBAM is about both objectives. The current proposal to phase out free emissions allowances for covered sectors as the CBAM is phased in could create additional trade protection for those goods depending on how that transition unfolds.</p> <p class="normal">Developing countries, especially <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">middle-income countries like China, South Africa and India</span></a>, have expressed “grave concern regarding the proposal for introducing trade barriers, such as unilateral carbon border adjustment, that are discriminatory and against the principles of Equity and CBDR-RC [Common but Differentiated Responsibility-Respective Capabilities].” While the EU CBAM proposal would primarily affect nearby countries, many of them middle or high income, those exports are also important to some smaller economies. Production and export of fertilizers to the EU, for example, accounts for 2-5% of Senegal’s entire GDP. (<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">EC proposal</span></a>, page 196).</p> <p class="normal">Many European civil society groups, such as <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Carbon Market Watch</span></a>, the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Institute for European Environmental Policy</span></a> and <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">GermanWatch</span></a>, while raising concerns on a CBAM generally, insist that any revenues generated by a CBAM be used to finance climate transition in developing countries, either directly to affected industries or more generally to the Green Climate Fund or similar international funds. Both the EC plan and the U.S. proposal would hold onto those funds to finance domestic climate costs, although the U.S. proposal would direct some funds to develop new climate technologies. Without a major increase in international climate funding and the loosening of trade rules on technology transfer (which both the EU and U.S. have generally opposed), it is hard to see how developing countries can transition to cleaner production.</p> <h2>CBAM and fertilizers</h2> <p class="normal">The inclusion of fertilizers in the EU CBAM is intended to support efforts to make production more energy efficient. The trade association <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Fertilizers Europe</span></a> insists that it needs the protection from lower cost imports to make that transition, asserting, “Due to its high trade and energy intensity and the fact that fertilizers are relatively simple products the sector is well suited for CBAM. We are therefore glad to see that the MEPs explicitly recognised fertilizers among other energy intensive sectors as most suited for the new mechanism.” It is worth noting that “trade intensive” means both that imports make up nearly 30% of production, and that 21% of fertilizers produced in the EU are exported to other countries (see Figure 1).</p> <p class="normal"> </p> <p class="normal"> </p> <table class="Basic-Table" id="table001"><colgroup><col class="_idGenTableRowColumn-1" /><col class="_idGenTableRowColumn-1" /></colgroup><thead><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-2"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-1 _idGenCellOverride-1" colspan="2"> <p class="Table-text">Figure 1: EU Fertilizer production and trade</p> </td> </tr></thead><tbody><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-2"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-2"> <p class="Table-heading"><strong>Annual fertilizer consumption</strong></p> </td> <td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-3"> <p class="Table-heading"><strong>EU installations covered in CBAM</strong></p> </td> </tr><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-3"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-4"> <p class="Table-text">EU: 11.3 million tons</p> <p class="Table-text">Global: 107.7 million tons</p> </td> <td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-5"> <p class="Table-text">Ammonia: 29</p> <p class="Table-text">Nitric acid: 34</p> </td> </tr><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-2"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-6"> <p class="Table-heading ParaOverride-1"><strong><span class="CharOverride-2">Trade patterns</span></strong></p> </td> <td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-7"> </td> </tr><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-2"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-8"> <p class="Table-text">Imports as a share of domestic production: 29.5%</p> </td> <td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-9"> <p class="Table-text">Exports as a share of domestic production: 21.3%</p> </td> </tr><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-4"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-6"> <p class="Table-text">Main sources of imports</p> </td> <td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-7"> <p class="Table-text">Russia: 32%; Egypt: 21%; Alegeria: 21%; Trinidad and Tobago: 7%; Ukraine: 5%</p> </td> </tr><tr class="Basic-Table _idGenTableRowColumn-5"><td class="Basic-Table CellOverride-10 _idGenCellOverride-1" colspan="2"> <p class="Table-text">Sources: European Roundtable on Climate Change and Sustainable Transition, Border Carbon Adjustments in the EU: <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Sectoral Deep Dive</span></a> 2021, p 36; Sources of imports from EC Proposal for a Regulation of the EU Parliament and of the Council establishing a carbon border adjustment mechanism, 2021, p. 151.</p> </td> </tr></tbody></table><p class="normal"> </p> <p class="normal">Large-scale farmers, on the other hand, are more skeptical. In a March 12, 2021 <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">press release</span></a><span class="Hyperlink_02">,</span> Copa &amp; Cogeca, which represents European agribusinesses and producers, insists that existing trade protections are sufficient and that, “If a border adjustment mechanism were to be added to this, the price of fertilisers would skyrocket, further increasing the cost of agricultural production in Europe, while making the use of imported food more competitive and attractive.”</p> <p class="normal">Fertilizers represent a substantial share of farmers’ costs of production. According to data from the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">EC’s Agri-Food Data Portal</span></a>, between 2015 and 2019, fertilizers averaged 39% of total specific costs (i.e., input costs excluding labor and overhead). Of course, the use of fertilizers, and therefore costs, vary considerably among EU countries and even within countries, depending on the crops, climatic conditions and production practices, but in any case, it is a significant expense. It is worth noting that Copa &amp; Cogeca is fighting hard against mandates to decrease fertilizer use under the EU Farm to Fork targets.</p> <p class="normal">Companies that would normally export fertilizers to the EU might decide to divert sales to other countries without such fees. In an email exchange with the author, Peruvian agricultural economist Daniel de la Torre Ugarte comments that this could perversely lead to a surge of fertilizers dumped on developing countries, potentially inducing farmers in those countries to use more synthetic fertilizers rather than seeking more sustainable alternatives. On the other hand, he noted that, “<a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">fertilizer prices have skyrocketed</span></a> over the last year. Although the long-term trend is not clear, in the short term these high fertilizer prices may put at risk farmers’ income and farm production.” The World Bank figures he cites indicate that price hikes are especially high for diammonium phosphate, which would likely not be included in a CBAM. Those price hikes are likely driven by currently high prices for natural gas, one of the key components in fertilizer production. This highlights the vulnerability of farmers who are dependent on unstable international markets for those imported chemical inputs.</p> <p class="normal">Increasing prices would better reflect the true environmental costs of chemical fertilizers, even beyond greenhouse gas emissions. Fertilizers are often overapplied, particularly if they are cheap. In addition to generating nitrous oxide, the overuse of fertilizers results in runoff that pollutes water systems and undermines biodiversity and human health. Based on research by <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Paul West</span></a> that calculated the differences between nutrients applied to soils and those removed in the crops when harvested, Hannah Ritchie found that nearly<span class="Hyperlink_02"> </span><a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">two-thirds of applied nitrogen fertilizers are not even used by crops</span></a>. As indicated in Figure 2, the extent to which this happens varies by country and region. Both the EU and U.S. apply much more fertilizer than is used by the crops.</p> <p class="normal">Figure 2</p> <p class="normal ParaOverride-2"><img alt="Excess nitrogen per hectare of cropland graphic" data-entity-type="file" data-entity-uuid="74bfa9f9-e802-4b9e-81c4-c95e82b87d77" src="/sites/default/files/inline-images/Excess%20nitrogen%20graphic_web.jpg" width="50%" /></p> <p class="normal">The EU’s Farm to Fork strategy sets out a series of goals to increase the sustainability of food production, including reducing nutrient losses by 50% along with decreasing the use of chemical fertilizers and manure by 20%. This would be accompanied by increases in production of organic agriculture, which would also reduce the use of chemical inputs beyond fertilizers. While this program has resulted in some reductions, the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">EU Food Policy Coalition</span></a> notes that implementation of the Nitrates Directive “has been generally poor, with advice lacking on the adoption of sustainable practices allowing for reduced fertilizer usage.” Coalition members call for a new program of public support to agriculture that prioritizes agroecological practices that diversify production, strengthen soils and drastically reduce the use of synthetic inputs such as fertilizers, among other goals.</p> <p class="h2">Better options for trade, climate and agriculture</p> <p class="normal">While reducing emissions from fertilizer production is necessary, it is not a sufficient step towards transformative change to create resilient food systems. The CBAM proposal, which could facilitate more energy efficient production of fertilizers in Europe, seems analogous in some ways to programs to the transition to <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">so-called clean coal</span></a>. Even the “greenest” coal is orders of magnitude more polluting than alternative renewable energy sources. Even if modernized fertilizer production is more energy efficient compared to imports, the point should be to reduce the overuse of synthetic fertilizers drastically and transition to farming systems that reduce emissions and other forms of environmental harm while increasing resilient production of healthy foods.</p> <p class="normal">One of the factors driving overuse of synthetic fertilizers is that they seem cheap, and their application demands little management attention by farmers. Increasing public support for agroecological solutions, while simultaneously raising taxes or other fees on agrochemicals would contribute both to lowering emissions and enhancing production. Those kinds of programs can be advanced through domestic regulation (such as the EU Farm to Fork strategy) or agricultural support such as EU Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) initiatives to reward farmers who adopt longer and more diverse crop rotation schemes that strengthen the soil and enhance both production and biodiversity. Current initiatives for so-called precision farming reward farmers for targeting fertilizer use instead of creating incentives to move away from those synthetic inputs. International collaboration on experiences in the EU and elsewhere, as well as development assistance to facilitate those transitions globally, is also important.</p> <p class="normal">The U.N. Committee on Food Security’s High-Level Panel of Experts recently completed a comprehensive review of <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Agroecological and Other Innovative Approaches</span></a> for Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems that Enhance Food Security and Nutrition. Reducing fertilizer use is one component of a comprehensive approach. The report found that agroecological solutions that utilize organic fertilizers such as compost and legumes “can provide a natural source of nutrients, improve soil structure and water retention, enhance soil biological activity and sequester carbon. They can release nutrients more slowly and over a longer period of time than mineral fertilizers. Management practices, such as introducing legumes and other green manure crops in crop rotation, as intercrops or as cover crops, can contribute significantly to nitrogen fixation and phosphorus mobilization” (page 85).</p> <p class="normal">Decisions on a CBAM, whether in the EU or U.S., or in multilateral forums like the WTO, will likely come down to the specific industrial goods included in each proposal. The inclusion of fertilizers in the EU proposal could be a foot in the door for broader inclusion of agriculture in such a mechanism down the road. In general, it opens the wrong door. The impacts of highly emitting production resulting from land use change, meat and feed production and overuse of fertilizers deserve their own responses that are developed in consultation with civil society and governments in all of the countries involved. While we might transition out of coal, we will not transition out of food. How food is produced, where it is produced, whether farmers are fairly compensated for their production, as well as how to achieve those goals while creating climate resilience, are the central questions. Trade rules must support those transitions rather than continue to create roadblocks. Well-developed technical proposals already exist to reduce risks and volatility in food supplies, whether from unstable prices or climate change. Those ideas could be starting points for discussions that include farmers and consumers from the Global South and North alongside governments.</p> <p class="normal">Once those goals and a more inclusive process are front and center, the focus of trade talks on agriculture and food systems could build on more relevant questions, including:</p> <ul><li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading">Preventing the use of trade rules that threaten legitimate measures to transition to fair and sustainable agricultural production.</span> This could start with the expansion and clearer definition of the general exceptions to protect human health and the environment in Article XX of the GATT to prevent challenges to renewable energy programs or plans to modernize fertilizer or other input plants. This could form the basis for a broader <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Peace Clause</span></a> banning challenges to such actions at the WTO for a specific time and pave the way for a permanent <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Climate Waiver</span></a> at the WTO, as well as in bilateral or plurilateral trade deals.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading">Removing trade mechanisms that allow corporations to sue governments over public interest laws and programs</span>. <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Investor State Dispute Settlement</span></a> mechanisms have already been used to challenge government initiatives on land use, food production, fertilizer production and water pollution. Companies should bring legitimate challenges to local judicial systems rather than relying on this unfair end run on democratic decision making.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading">Allowing countries to shelter goods necessary for sustainable development, food security and rural livelihoods from dumping.</span> IATP has documented the <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">extent of agricultural dumping</span></a> — exporting farm goods at prices below the cost of production — and the problems it creates for farmers in the Global North and South. Language already exists at the WTO to address those problems, including Special Safeguard Mechanisms that allow governments to raise temporarily raise tariffs when markets are unstable. While multilateral action will take time, governments could, as a starting point, agree to suspend tariff reductions in bilateral trade deals on those essential goods.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading">Redefining the kinds and levels of public support needed to support a climate transition in agriculture. </span>This could start with revisions of rules on public support for synthetic fertilizers and instead agreeing to repurpose subsidies to support agroecology or food stocks programs. The current <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">Peace Clause on India’s rice stocks</span></a> program could be a starting point in this case.</li> <li class="Bulleted-list"><span class="Inline-heading">Modernizing corporate-led approaches to agricultural science and agroecology.</span> Too many trade agreements, especially at the bilateral level, protect corporate investments in agricultural biotechnology rather than fostering creative innovations that bring scientists and farmers together to find solutions that enhance food production, biodiversity and rural livelihoods. A starting point would be to encourage the use of <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">the precautionary principle</span></a> in setting such standards, and to dismantle requirements in trade agreement that countries ratify <a href=""><span class="Hyperlink_02">UPOV-91</span></a>, a treaty that bans sharing of protected seeds.</li> </ul><p class="normal">The imperative to transform food and farm systems to meet the climate emergency must be met by a parallel shift in trade rules that also respects and redresses the differing situations in the Global South and North. The CBAM patch is an inadequate response to that challenge.</p> <hr /><h3>Downloads</h3> <p><a href="">Download a PDF</a> of the document. </p> </div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Thu, 28 Oct 2021 14:24:33 +0000 Colleen Borgendale 44673 at UN climate talks must prioritize strong commitments to cut real emissions by 2030, not net zero promises <div class="node node--type-document node--view-mode-rss field-primary-category-climate-change has-field-primary-category no-field-teaser-image title-not-empty ds-1col clearfix"> <h3 > Big investments in agroecology and climate adaptation are critical for food systems</h3> <div class="field field--name-field-author field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Author</div> <div class="field__items"> <div class="field--item"><a href="/about/staff/iatp" hreflang="en">IATP</a></div> </div> </div> <div class="field field--name-body field--type-text-with-summary field--label-hidden field--item"><p><span><span><span><strong>MINNEAPOLIS/BERLIN</strong>—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. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>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: </span></span></span></p> <ul><li><span><span><span><strong>Governmental Climate Commitments</strong>: 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. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><strong>Net Zero Pledges</strong>: 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. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><strong>Carbon Markets and Climate Finance</strong>: 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. </span></span></span></li> <li><span><span><span><strong>Agriculture:</strong> 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. </span></span></span></li> </ul><p><span><span><span>Prior to COP26, IATP is releasing a <a href="">series of publications</a> 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.  </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>During COP26, IATP will cohost a <a href="">side event</a> 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. </span></span></span></p> <p><span><span><span>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. </span></span></span></p></div> <div class="field field--name-field-primary-category field--type-entity-reference field--label-above"> <div class="field--label">Primary category</div> <div class="field--item"><a href="/issues/climate-change" hreflang="en">Climate Change</a></div> </div> </div> Mon, 25 Oct 2021 21:05:51 +0000 Cecelia Heffron 44671 at