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India opposes attempt to link action on emissions to farming

Updated on Nov 18, 2022 04:45 AM IST

India communicated strong objections to discussions under a special UN Framework Convention on Climate Change effort known as the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, which has sought to expand efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouses gases to the agriculture sector.

Egyptian police secure the Sharm el-Sheikh International Convention Centre, during the COP27 climate conference in Egypt's Red Sea resort city of the same name, on November 17. (AFP)
ByJayashree Nandi, Sharm El Sheikh

India on Thursday communicated strong objections to discussions under a special UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) effort known as the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture, which has sought to expand efforts to reduce emissions of greenhouses gases to the agriculture sector.

According to people aware of the matter, a draft decision under the Koronivia Joint Work mentions mitigation – the efforts to reduce emissions – multiple times.

“Noted that many approaches with high potential for adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and mitigation relate to land and food systems, such as conserving and restoring ecosystems, improving sustainability of agricultural practices and reducing food loss and waste from sustainable food systems,” it states.

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“Promoting a holistic approach to addressing issues related to agriculture and food security, taking into consideration regional, national and local circumstances, in order to deliver a range of multiple benefits, where applicable, such as adaptation, adaptation co-benefits and mitigation…” it added.

India however said these are not “luxury” emissions but “survival” emissions of the poor. “The world is facing a climate crisis today because of the excessive historic cumulative emissions by the developed nations. These nations are unable to reduce their emissions domestically by any worthwhile change in their lifestyles. Rather, they are searching for cheaper solutions abroad,” said people aware of the discussions, asking not to be named.

“In most developing countries across the world, agriculture is done by small and marginal farmers who till hard, toil hard and brave the vagaries of extreme weather and climate variability as well as the additional stress of climate change,” this person added, citing India’s stand.

By seeking to extend the scope of mitigation to agriculture, India has contended, developed countries “want the world agriculture, lands and seascapes to become a site of mitigation for their profligate, excessive emissions”.

“There are no additional finance offers on the table by the developed countries and the existing interim operating entities like GEF and GCF are being coaxed to handle the excessive emissions of the developed countries by turning agriculture into a site of mitigation… the developed countries are blocking a pro-poor, pro-farmer decision by insisting on expanding the scope for mitigation in agriculture, thereby compromising the very foundation of food security in the world,” this person said.

“This year too, the developed countries are distracting attention from their excessive GHG emissions by emphasizing reduction in agriculture emissions which are survival emissions and not luxury emissions.”

A second person said India expects a “just and equitable final text” from the declaration.

“This has been India’s stand on emissions from methane in farm sector also. It doesn’t want any reference to emissions from agriculture because India is highly dependent on agriculture. Nearly half of all Indians depend on farm-derived income,” said an expert who did not wish to be named.

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