‘MAKE AGRICULTURE SEXY’:
Activists, including British actor Idris Elba, said changes in agriculture are needed to curb emissions and protect food security
Thomson Reuters Foundation, GLASGOW, Scotland
Dozens of nations pledged to do more to protect nature and overhaul agriculture at the UN COP26 climate talks on Saturday, as they had concerns about past failures.
Agriculture, deforestation, and other land use changes are responsible for about a quarter of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions, which are heating the planet, making reforms essential to protect nature and feed a growing world population without fueling global warming.
“Nature and climate are interconnected, and both our people and our surroundings are exposed to the very real effects of rising temperatures,” said Alok Sharma, UK President of COP26, at a press conference.
He said that 70 percent of tropical corals that are breeding grounds for fish would be lost if temperatures rose 1.5 ° C above pre-industrial times.
“When we get to two degrees, they’re all gone,” he added.
Temperatures are already nearly 1.2 ° C and the primary goal of the Glasgow negotiations is to keep hopes alive to limit warming to 1.5 ° C, the toughest target facing nearly 200 Nations set in the 2015 Paris Agreement.
The UK said that on Saturday 45 nations made pledges to protect nature, including Ethiopia, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Japan, Morocco, the Philippines, the US, Uruguay and Vietnam.
Sharma said the pledges included $ 4 billion in public sector investments that would help fuel innovations such as the development of drought, flood and heatwave-resistant crops that could benefit “hundreds of millions of farmers” .
Activists said necessary shifts to agriculture to curb emissions and protect food security should have a bigger share in the global spotlight.
“We need to shed light on climate justice and make food and agriculture sexy,” said Idris Elba, British actor and goodwill ambassador for the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development.
Vanessa Nakate, 24, a Ugandan climate justice advocate, warned that in her country “we are watching farms collapse,” with floods, droughts, heat waves and swarms of locusts spreading hunger.
However, previous commitments have been neglected.
A UN report last year found that the world had not fully achieved any of the 20 global goals it set in 2010 to protect biodiversity.
These ranged from the abolition of harmful agricultural subsidies and the limitation of forest loss to the procurement of sufficient financial resources for developing countries.
Despite heavy rain, tens of thousands of protesters, including indigenous people, workers, environmentalists and social activists, took to the streets of Glasgow denouncing the glaciers’ advances in addressing the threats to climate change at the formal UN COP26 summit.
In the city’s Kelvingrove Park, the day of the protests began with a rally organized by the Fire Services Union calling for green jobs and racial justice.
Vulnerable people in countries that have contributed least to climate change bear the brunt of extreme weather and rising sea levels on a warming planet, spokesmen said.
Crowds of protesters, including Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, then meandered downtown for a second rally in Glasgow Green, where indigenous community members called for rainforest protection and food producers called for environmentally friendly forms of agriculture.
Asad Rehman, co-director of the COP26 coalition, which brings together British groups working on climate change, said the march in Glasgow was just one of more than 300 climate demonstrations worldwide on Saturday when the UN climate talks reached their midpoint.
The coalition estimates that around 120,000 people took to the streets in Glasgow.
Rehman, also director of the charity War on Want, noted the diversity of protesters, with indigenous peoples, African climate activists and others from developing countries leading the march in Glasgow after defying the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic to go to COP26 travel.
“We have built a movement that not only consists of environmentalists, but also includes and connects the labor movements and religious organizations [and] Grassroots activists, ”he said.
This shows how “the [climate] The crisis we face is a multiple crisis … a symptom of a rigged economy and a broken system, ”he said.
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