September 22, 2014

Setting Goals at the UN Climate Summit

Eva Fillion, EcoAgriculture Partners

If you are reading this, chances are that you’re already aware of the detrimental effects of climate change. You’ve read the research, you know the rhetoric: we are deep in a cycle of emitting harmful greenhouse gasses, degrading the land and depleting natural resources, which negatively affects not only our own lifestyle and health, but the delicate balance and complex processes that support all life on this planet. Currently, agriculture, forestry and similar land uses contribute roughly a quarter of all anthropogenic, or human-caused, greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture both contributes to and suffers from the effects of the changing climate, and that gives it the potential to directly benefit from its mitigation efforts. Further, carefully chosen mitigation strategies can have strong adaptation and resilience benefits for agricultural communities.

Adaptation to climate change is already necessary to sustain yields and secure farmer livelihoods in much of the world. Climate-smart agriculture (CSA) is a set of agricultural practices, polices and research priorities that allows farmers to achieve both adaptation and mitigation benefits. This innovative approach to agriculture has been gaining steam in the international community and will be featured this week at the 2014 Climate Summit taking place in New York City. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited international leaders to come together to make concrete decisions and commitments tied to solutions. One such commitment will be to the promotion of CSA.

The Secretary General will launch the Global Alliance for Climate-Smart Agriculture at the Summit, and its inaugural meeting will be held in New York City the following day. You can register to join the inaugural meeting via live stream here.

The overarching goal of the summit is to demonstrate the commitment of the international community to limiting the world to a 2 degree Celsius temperature rise. Keeping global mean temperature rise in check being so inextricably tied to such an enormous array of sectors and activities means that everyone, not just scientists, will be responsible for keeping this commitment. Climate change is no longer just an issue for those who rely heavily and directly upon the land—it is an issue of economics, national security and public health. To this end, a week of climate events hosted by a every type of organization and interest group imaginable will accompany the 2014 UN Climate Summit.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon writes: “Change is in the air – I can sense it at all levels of society. Solutions exist. The race is on. My challenge to all political and business leaders, all concerned citizens and voters is simple: be at the head of the race. Don’t get left behind. Don’t be on the losing side of history. Let us work together to make climate change a top priority for all leaders – at home and in the global arena. Let us take advantage of the opportunities presented by climate action and lay the foundations for a more prosperous and secure future for all.”

We look forward to attending and following the events of Climate Week and to working with our partners to realize the important goals set forth at the Climate Summit. Look for upcoming blogs on these events over the course of the next several weeks!

Image courtesy of the UN
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