IFOAM EU at COP21: Agreement the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era

The agreement adopted in Paris on 12 December gives the world the possibility to avoid disastrous climate change, as it sets up a global framework to regularly review national emissions reduction plans. But as such it offers no guarantee. Whether we will be able to limit temperature increase to below 2 or 1.5°C by the end of the century will mostly depend on the pressure of civil society on governments and businesses. Still it is a significant step forward, that IFOAM EU welcomes as such.

It certainly marks the beginning of the end of the fossil fuel era, even though the long term goal agreed - “to achieve a balance between anthropogenic emissions by sources and removals by sinks of greenhouse gases in the second half of this century” - leaves many doors open. Yes, forests and lands can act as carbon sinks. But they should not be used to meet reduction targets, or as offsets, and should not become an excuse not to reduce emissions and not to phase out fossil fuels in the first place, or to rely on untested technologies of carbon capture and storage or, even worst, geoengineering.

The agreement also states that low greenhouse gas development should “not threaten food production”. This is a good thing if it protects farming communities from land grabbing, but here as well it should not be seen as an excuse to continue business as usual in the agrifood system.

As the Commission is preparing the next climate and energy package, that will decide how the EU will implement its 40% reduction target by 2030, the organic food and farming movement will continue to actively engage in the debate.

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