UN Climate Change Conference Negotiations Tackle Agriculture
The UN COP17 Climate Change Conference recently drew to a close in Durban, South Africa. Near the end of the conference, the Kyoto Protocol was extended to 2017. The Kyoto Protocol mandates binding carbon emissions reduction goals for many developed countries, which now must ascertain the best ways to achieve those goals.
One of the most interesting results of the conference came in discussions over the UN-REDD program (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries) when animal agriculture was singled out as one of the leading contributors to deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
This is expected to spur new investment in small and sustainable farms, which are exceptionally capable at both reducing carbon emissions as well as improving local food security. However, the efficacy of the Kyoto Protocol is often a subject of debate. Has it been successful since its enactment in 2005? Will it be successful going forward? Certainly the environmental agenda will have a tough time competing with the economic crisis for prime-time attention, but that’s no reason to give up hope.