COP26 DIARY: When will the conference acknowledge the positive role of essential farmers, ranchers, foresters and fishermen?

Agriculture’s collaborative role in building resilience across the planet must go hand- in-hand with the strategies to adapt to climate change. The future of mankind starts with an abundant supply of food, water and energy. Leaders, activists and the public cannot forget this part of the equation. This missing voice of on-the-farm experience has driven our Solutions From the Land team to show up over the past six sessions of COP and advocate for inclusion into these climate deliberations. It is our SfL contention that today’s agriculture is providing many of the clearly-needed solutions to mitigate climate change: carbon sequestration, habitat protection, resource utilization, renewable fuels, nutrient-dense foods and job creation. “The voice of agriculture needs to be heard so that those making the plans for climate action are not relying on outdated perceptions of what is actually happening on the farm and in the laboratories.” By A.G. Kawamura I n December 2009, I attended COP15 in Copenhagen, representing California agriculture on behalf of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and a delegation of other cabinet members. During that meeting, it became painfully clear that the discussion around climate change was moving rapidly forward but without any inclusion or realization that agriculture was going to be one of the central areas of impact in a world with significant shifts in weather patterns. At COP26 this year, it was alarming to see that not much has changed. The opening statements by U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UN Secretary General Antonio Gutteres, Prince Charles and Richard Attenborough listed what must be dealt with in order to reduce emissions and curb the rise of global temperatures. Missing, again, was any sense of comprehension for how the global agricultural food systems are performing or how we will deliver food, feed and fiber to a demanding world under climate-related mitigation regimes.



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