by Macaulay Jones, Independent Consultant, Agriculture, Sustainability & Trade
This November the United Arab Emirates (UAE) will host the 28th United Nations (UN) Climate Change Conference, known as COP28. All 193 UN member countries will meet to negotiate rules that drive action on climate change and limit global warming to the 1.5 degrees goal outlined in the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement.
At COP28, the first stocktake on progress towards the Paris Agreement will take place. This global stocktake (GST) has been described as the ‘jewel in the crown’ of the Paris Agreement and will be when critical climate gaps and solutions are identified.
Federated Farmers is ensuring that the voices of Kiwi farmers are being heard in this process, both by advocating directly to our Government and by taking part in UN processes directly.
Feds has lodged a submission to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) which is seeking feedback on New Zealand’s approach to international climate change negotiations. Our submission is over 10,000 words long and can be found at www.fedfarm.org.nz. Two key points are:
- New Zealand should ensure that the Paris Agreement’s commitment to pursue low greenhouse gas development is “in a manner that does not threaten food production” in recognition of the “fundamental priority of safeguarding food security and ending hunger”. This means:
- The mitigation of agricultural greenhouse gas emissions should occur through use of technology uptake and the increased efficiency of farming, rather than simply reducing production.
- Carbon removals such as afforestation should not be promoted in a way that places food production at risk.
- New Zealand should promote the scientific and policy benefits of other nations applying a split gas approach (used in NZ’s Zero Carbon Act) to long and short-lived emissions in NDCs, emissions budgets, national inventories, and life cycle assessments (LCAs). The warming impacts of agricultural emissions need to be accurately accounted for.
Feds is a member of the World Farmers Organisation (WFO), and through this is also a member of the UN Climate Change Farmers Observer Constituency. Farmers are one of only nine official observer groups recognised by the UN at climate change talks, such as COP28, and this gives farmer groups such as Feds a powerful opportunity to participate directly in UN climate meetings. Feds climate change lead Macaulay Jones, recently attended the 2023 Petersberg Climate Dialogue (PCD) on behalf of the Farmers Constituency.
Participants included Ministers and high-level representatives from over 40 countries, the UAE COP28 President Designate and his team, the German Chancellor, a youth delegation as well as representatives from most of the observer constituencies (including farmers).
When speaking at the PCD, Macaulay emphasised that the world’s farmers are eager to realise their potential to be a transformational climate solution but must be enabled through pragmatic bottom-up policies that take a holistic approach to emissions mitigation, climate adaptation, food security, biodiversity enhancement and the wellbeing of farmers and rural communities.
As COP28 approaches, Feds staff and elected farmer leaders will continue to work hard to ensure climate policy is practical and fair for farmers both at home in NZ and internationally.