Well, things are moving along quickly here at the COP15 in Copenhagen. The talks have ended with a full pull out of the ‘developing’ nations and started again in just a few hours – the UNFCCC staff has informed us that several thousand of the ‘civil society’ will not be allowed to enter tomorrow and the next day – by Friday we will be only 90 people with something like 26 thousand of us outside. It seems that by Friday this conference will be only for the government officials – for ‘security reasons’ says the UNFCCC staff.
Agriculture and forestry are being talked about everywhere. I just came from a meeting with the International Federation of Agriculture Producers (IFAP) on the potential for agriculture’s inclusion in ‘Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation’ (REDD) and the potential for agriculture in combating and adapting to climate change. The over-all message was positive: we should support and respect the 3 billion farmers of the world (mostly women) and find ways to support them in maintaining the traditional knowledge, making more food, making food in a more sustainable way and making food on land that they already have instead of deforesting and converting natural areas to agricultural lands. There was no mention of the potential for organic agriculture but sustainable agriculture was mentioned and Urs Niggli from Das Forschungsinstitut für biologischen Landbau (FiBL) has assured me that any inclusion of agriculture in the talks will have to steer us toward organic agriculture.
The thing that really made me feel good about my newly acquired agriculturalist knowledge was the question and answer period. – I did not get a chance to talk but the California Secretary of Agriculture A. G. Kawamura stood up to talk about the need for research in plant protection for food security. During his small talk he stumbled over the agricultural language and said ‘uh the ability for pests and things to attack the plants’ . ‘The word he is looking for is virulence’ I wrote on a paper and handed to a neighboring FSC colleague.
Now sitting in a side event on the proposed changes in Turkey in the face of climate change. The whole country appears to be ready to get to work in Renewable Technologies but really focused on the carbon markets. They are planting trees, transitioning to public transportation, redesigning the building sector.
That is it for now from Copenhagen. Stay Tuned.