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Agriculture enters the Paris negotiation on climate change

Agriculture enters the Paris negotiation on climate change

The Paris climate summit attempts to replace the Kyoto Protocol. But this time, unlike the pact of 1997, the idea is to include measures to reduce emissions responsible for warming 100% of the planet and not only those of developed countries. Agriculture, deforestation and land uses - responsible for 24% of global emissions - play a role that they did not have in Kyoto. One hundred countries have mitigation measures in this sector.

"The Kyoto Protocol has the stamp of Europe," explains Charlotte Streck, director of Climate Focus, a consultancy specialized in climate change present at the summit in the French capital. In Europe, this expert highlights, policies on deforestation and agriculture related to climate change "are the great forgotten ones." In the old continent, the fight against climate change has focused on the energy sector. As Europe ended up as the main engine of Kyoto, the bulk of the measures have focused on transport and energy in recent decades.

But Streck believes that in the Paris pact "this is going to change." "It will be an agreement of all countries and of all sectors," he points out. The UN estimates that 24% of the greenhouse gases that man expels into the atmosphere are related to agriculture, deforestation and changes in land use.

Among the battalion of jacket negotiators who visit the facilities of the Paris meeting these days, a colorful plume stands out from time to time. Several representatives of indigenous populations participate in this UN summit. Jorge Furagaro is the head of Climate Change at the Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon Basin, which brings together 5,000 associations from nine Latin American countries. "For indigenous peoples, forests are their life," he says. "They are our shopping centers, our hospitals, they mean our home." But these forests are threatened, which not only affects their way of life, but also accelerates climate change, as forest masses help capture and retain CO2.

"The risks come from projects that do not conform to our customs," he says regarding pre-control activities or large infrastructures. His organization has signed a commitment to protect 240 million hectares from deforestation. But Furagaro demands funds to be able to do it.

Carlos de Inglaterra, who participated this Tuesday in an event with indigenous leaders, has complained that many of the world's large companies do not pay attention to the "footprint" left by logging related to their commercial activities. He has asked to act against deforestation.

Deforestation

Around 1 billion people depend on forests to survive in the world. Every year 12 million hectares are lost. This deforestation alone is to blame for 11% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to UN calculations.

Unlike Kyoto, this sector will be present in the agreement that is expected to close in Paris. Germany, Norway and the US have committed to mobilizing $ 5 billion over the next five years if the countries with the largest forest mass apply verifiable and measurable conservation measures. This last nuance is important. In Kyoto, this sector was also put aside because there was "mistrust" about the real impact of reforestation measures, according to a source with years of experience in climate negotiations.

From being a forgotten sector, it has now become one of the important ones. One hundred of the 180 countries that have submitted emission mitigation plans before the summit include measures related to soils, forests and agriculture. "Across the American continent there is less population density than in Europe and large natural habitats," says Streck, thus there is more "potential" for mitigation measures in the forestry sector.

Brazil, for example, is one of the States that has significant potential in measures related to land use. An important part of its mitigation commitments to the UN are in the forestry field. Brazil, for example, has committed to reforesting 12 million hectares and restoring 15 million hectares of grasslands degraded by agricultural activities.


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