Differences emerge at climate talks over counting emissions from agriculture

Least developed countries oppose developing countries

By Arnab Pratim Dutta
Published: Saturday 01 December 2012

Developing countries on Friday managed to bury a proposal of the Least Developing Countries (LDCs) on agriculture. The proposal said that studies need to be carried out to ascertain the role of agriculture in global warming. This proposal, placed before a scientific advisory body of the United Nations Frame Work Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) in the ongoing annual climate change talks in Doha, not only showed the deep divisions that run within the developing countries collectively known as the G77+China but was also seen as an aberration to the stand of the developing world that agriculture is only a subject for adaptation and not mitigation.

At the meeting of the Subsidiary Body For Scientific and Technological Advice (SBSTA) on Thursday evening, Gambia, which chairs the LDCs group, went against the agreed position of G77+China of keeping agriculture outside the scope of mitigation. LDCs' proposal also suggested that common but differentiated responsibility (CBDR) be removed from the convention’s text for SBSTA. Gambia found support in Costa Rica, a Latin American country

The G77+China have always been of the view that while climate change resilient technologies should be made available for farmers, counting emissions from farmland could pave way to opening up of this sector for cheap emission reduction credits, thereby exposing them to the vagaries of the carbon market.

LDCs dissuaded
On Friday, the G77+China met and managed to convince the LDCs to remove the contentious points from the proposal. Although many of the LDCs are in Africa, the negotiating bloc African Union was also against he proposal of LDCs.

Cost Rica supported the proposal because it has a national plan, which insists that the country will be carbon neutral by 2021, said an Indian negotiator. Two of the keys sectors where Costa Rica is planning drastic emissions reduction are energy and agriculture. Of its total agricultural emissions, excessive use of fertilizer accounts for 57 per cent, which the country hopes to streamline.

Methane, which is many times more powerful than CO2 as a greenhouse gas is one of the key emissions from rice cultivation. India says that tackling methane emissions has several social and economic constraints. It espouses that such sectoral strategies should not have any international intervention but should be done nationally. “When India is planning to pass the food security bill, it cannot be bothered with methane emissions from rice fields,” a negotiator said.

New Zealand, the European Union along with G77+China and LDCs’ proposal will be discussed on Saturday at the SBSTA.






Subscribe to Daily Newsletter :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.