by Natasha Geiling Dec 16, 2015 8:00 am
Despite claiming nearly half of the world’s land and accounting for one-third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, food and agriculture had always played a secondary role in international climate negotiations, pushed aside in favor of discussions about energy and transportation.
But this year — as delegates from nearly 200 countries met in Paris to push for a global agreement on climate change — agriculture finally got a moment in the spotlight.
Some of that attention is a result of the way that the talks were structured, requiring individual countries to submit independent climate pledges in advance of the conference — something that no other conference has done. Those individual plans — known as Intended Nationally Determined Contributions, or INDCs — tend to mention agriculture, especially in relationship to mitigation: more than 80 percent include strategies for mitigating the impact of agriculture on climate change, while 60 percent include strategies for adapting agriculture to climate change.
“Countries see agriculture as part of the solution, and that, I think, is changing things,” Frank Rijsberman, CEO of CGIAR, an agricultural research and development firm, told ThinkProgress. “Because the door was closed for so long, we feel that it being even a little bit open is a good step.”