The Paris Climate Agreement: Agriculture and Food Security
Australian Center for Climate and Environmental Law Conference: 'The Legal Implications of the Paris Agreement', 2016
20 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2016
Date Written: February 11, 2016
Climate change has a profound impact on agriculture and on food security. At the same time agriculture contributes to climate change to a considerable extent. Fortunately there is also much to gain since the agricultural sector holds significant climate change mitigation potential through reductions of greenhouse gas emissions and enhancement of sequestration. A policy aimed at achieving greenhouse gas emission reductions, adaptation to climate change and an increase in productivity is, therefore, very much needed. “Climate smart agriculture” policies are being proposed, but so far remain underdeveloped. This paper reviews whether the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement pushes towards the development of such policies. It finds that, unfortunately, the Paris Climate Agreement does not provide a powerful stimulus to adopt and implement climate smart agriculture policies. The Paris Climate Agreement does not change the troublesome relationship between agriculture policies and climate policies that we have already witnessed under the UNFCCC and the Kyoto Protocol. There is some attention for adaptation to climate change in rural areas in developing countries, but progress is painfully slow. For the developed countries, the UNFCCC does not make much of a contribution to addressing climate change and food security issues. This is a pity, as the developed country agriculture sector will play an important role in addressing the increasing global demand for food. Developed countries, including important players such as the EU, should, therefore, not wait for the UNFCCC process. The EU recently announced its intention to implement an ambitious policy aimed at climate friendly and resilient food production, while optimising the agricultural sector's contribution to greenhouse gas mitigation and sequestration. It is of vital importance that this example is followed and implemented across the globe. Hopefully such initiatives will then be picked up by the international community under the UNFCCC process.
Keywords: climate change, food security, agriculture, UNFCCC, international law
JEL Classification: K32, K33
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation