International Climate Policy Must Focus on Food Security

IFA President Eddie Downey has called for a shift in the international climate debate away from fatalistic predictions of future outcomes to a focus on measures that communities can deliver, such as supporting the development of sustainable food production to meet increasing international food demand.

Responding to the UN IPCC Climate Change 2013 – The Physical Science Basis, Eddie Downey said, “The IPCC report identifies that the effects of climate change will reduce food production world wide by two percent per decade, at a time when demand for food will increase by 14 percent. Agriculture is unique and its functions include sequestering carbon, producing food, raw materials and energy, while improving environmental quality and contributing to climate mitigations and adaptation. No other sector has such a multi-functional role, and in countries like Ireland we deliver.”


He said, “Agriculture in Ireland is amongst the most emission efficient in the world. As a major international exporting nation of sustainable food, it is essential that the ongoing international discussions recognise this.  As a start, the UN must move to a method of emission accounting for agriculture which is based on emissions per kilo of production rather than the existing model which ignores the carbon sequestering role of the sector”.


“International policy on agriculture and climate policy lags EU and national thinking. IFA and the Irish Government have long advocated the unique role of agriculture, which in recent months has finally been accepted by the European Commission. It is now essential that as international discussions progress towards COP 21 in Paris, the multi-functional roles of agriculture are accepted and that the mistakes of the past are not repeated by seeking crude emission reductions from the agriculture sector – which ignore the impact that this will have on food security, energy policy and other environmental challenges.”



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