Copa calls for legally binding climate deal

As negotiators begin talks on a new International Climate Agreement, Copa President Martin Merrild underlined in Paris today the significant contribution that agriculture and forestry make to fighting climate change, and called for a strong legally binding agreement that includes all major economies around the globe.

Speaking in Paris at an event organised with the French agricultural organisations (FNSEA, APCA and CNMCCA) and the World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO), Mr Merrild said “I welcome the good debate we had today and the strong commitment made by the French Premier Minister Manuel Valls to support farmers and cooperatives and our fight against climate change. And I thank the French organisations for setting this up. We now also need to get consumers on board so that they better understand the good work farmers do in helping to feed the world in a sustainable way at the same time as combatting climate change”.

” We already deliver in the fight against climate change. But it makes no sense to solve the climate problem by cutting production in Europe just to build it up elsewhere. The EU has already made a strong commitment with its ambitious goal of cutting emissions by 40% compared to 1990 and our partners across the world need to make similar commitments. This also needs to be done in a balanced way, to ensure safe food supplies to feed a growing world population, which is set to increase by 60% by 2050″, he added.

“The European farming community is part of the solution in tackling climate change. Innovative solutions that reduce the climate footprint whilst also increasing the output of food, feed and bio-based products can serve as a model and inspiration for farmers and their cooperatives all over the world”, Mr Merrild underlined. He continued, “Perhaps the best European solutions can be found in areas such as crop production, animal feed, breeding techniques and using co-products such as straw and slurry. Any environmentally successful agreement in Paris must focus on research and on adaptation and mitigation”.

“Furthermore, better water management, including water supply, irrigation and drainage are needed. We need to better understand and improve synergies between livestock production and grassland management. This would have a big impact on carbon sequestration and on efficient livestock production”, the Copa President pointed out.

“Globally, climate change is a threat to agriculture and food security. For every degree Celsius increase in temperature, our soy and corn production are set to fall by 17 percent. It is very clear that in Europe, we also need to produce more with less, to feed the world and to avoid the serious social and political instability that has been seen so many times in our history. I also believe that agriculture and forestry can make a huge difference, for instance in soil carbon sequestration and in renewable energy sources. This contribution needs to be recognised”, he added.

“Finally, EU farmers and their cooperatives have already significantly contributed to meeting the challenges of climate change. Frankly, the last thing we now need is for farmers to be squeezed by the consequences of climate change on their production and the negative effects of the new policies imposed on them. Since 1990, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from farming have fallen by 23%, while sectors like transport have actually seen their impact rise. This must be taken into account”, he concluded.

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