COP 26 – False Solutions
As I am not in Glasgow at the COP 26, I can’t give an accurate summary. So, as it is my echo chamber, I am linking to Farming the Future’s excellent newsletter. Though it only briefly touches on COP, there appears to be a consensus that, like with the UN Food Systems Summit, the event has been hijacked by the corporate agenda. Words from the Land Workers Alliance who attended the event, sum it up;
“…. the voices who were platformed at Farmers Day – who claim to speak for ‘all farmers’ – did not speak for the millions of agroecological farmers, peasants, pastoralists and agroforestry workers. The space and processes are not truly inclusive or participatory. The rhetoric was one of technological fixes, digitisation, private finance and carbon markets so called ‘game changing solutions’. FALSE SOLUTIONS!
Agroecology should be at the centre of agriculture solutions. It was not mentioned in any session. The COP26 process is not inclusive and is allowing the co-option by philanthrocapitalists, private sector, big corporations and organisations with agendas to maintain the status quo. My action today was to sow the seeds of hope by ensuring agroecology was at the centre of a word cloud generated by audience participation. It was my word that would describe best the agriculture millions want as a solution for climate change.”
Philanthrocapitalist, Bill Gates, leads the COP narrative in the wrong direction
Of course Bill Gates’s billions are pushing the corporate agenda at COP, not least onto small scale farmers in so-called developing nations. The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM), supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UNFAO, is a joint initiative by the USA and United Arab Emirates, involves 32 countries, including the UK, has $4 billion invested and was launched at COP26.
The BBC receives money from the Foundation so, it’s not surprising that Farming Today (9.50 mins in) only had the Gates rep present its mission. There was no one representing the ‘target’ group, namely small scale farmers and indigenous people or environmental NGOS or consumer groups, to say if they welcome the Gates programme. The Gates representative said;
“We are looking for opportunities at this COP and future COPs to call attention to the increased needs for financing for agriculture adaptation that focuses on small scale producers and hopefully will help garner global commitments to new innovations that are needed that target these populations. From new crops and livestock breeds that help farmers adapt that are more heat tolerant, more flood resistant, or drought tolerant. Also using technology to reach small scale producers in a way they haven’t been reached before with real time, climate and weather information that helps them adapt in a much more efficient and faster way than they have been able to in the past.”
Let’s read between the lines; the foundation is pushing technological solutions and policy change to facilitate corporate sales of chemical inputs, fertilisers and hybrid, genetically engineered and gene edited seeds and livestock, and high tech machines, robots and data farming that benefit global money markets and corporate CEOs and their shareholders. They want to profit by replacing traditional farming practices, where the communities exchange local seeds that are adapted over generations to local weather, soil and the communities nutritional needs, is more resilient and where money stays in the locality.
There are nearly 7 billion people on the planet, and, according to the UN, 70% are still fed largely by small scale farmers whose skilled agro ecological farming includes pasture fed livestock, and sequesters Co2. We urgently need to revitalise these resilient decentralised farm systems’, not kill them.
Indian farmers have been demonstrating to hang on to what all farmers across the globe need; a guaranteed minimum price for their produce to cover the cost of production and to end government subsidies, philanthro-capitalist tax free donations and portfolio investments that pour into large scale mechanised high tech farming which emits a great deal of Co2. Read GRAIN’s article on how the Gates Foundation is driving the food system in the wrong direction.
‘The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has spent nearly US$6 billion over the past 17 years trying to improve agriculture, mainly in Africa. This is a lot of money for an underfunded sector, and, as such, carries great weight. To better understand how the Gates Foundation is shaping the global agriculture agenda, GRAIN analysed all the food and agriculture grants the foundation has made up until 2020. We found that, while the Foundation’s grants focus on African farmers, the vast majority of its funding goes to groups in North America and Europe. The grants are also heavily skewed to technologies developed by research centres and corporations in the North for poor farmers in the South, completely ignoring the knowledge, technologies and biodiversity that these farmers already possess. Also, despite the Foundation’s focus on techno-fixes, much of its grants are given to groups that lobby on behalf of industrial farming and undermine alternatives. This is bad for African farmers and bad for the planet. It is time to pull the plug on the Gates’ outsized influence over global agriculture.’
‘Then, of course, there is Bill Gates himself. Sitting down with heads of state, policy makers and business leaders, Gates tries to convince them that his view of the world is the one to go after. The world has gotten used to pictures of him shaking hands or sitting shoulder to shoulder with the leaders of the world. Indeed, many of those leaders seem very eager to be in these pictures and heed his advice. The most recent display of this was at Joe Biden’s virtual “Leaders Summit on Climate” where Gates shared his vision on how to fight the climate crisis. His recipe to tackle the climate crisis is very similar and equally dangerous to how he wants to feed the world: develop new technologies, trust the market, and put in place policies so that corporations can make it all happen faster.
Gates clearly isn’t listening to or learning from the people on the ground. So why should anyone listen to him? Rather than being listened to, Gates and his top down corporate technology agenda must be resisted and stopped in its tracks.’
CO2 Off-set scam
Greenpeace reports corporate greenwashing in the energy sector where companies may admit that they’re harming the planet and our climate, but claim that harm can be mitigated – or offset – by paying to protect a small piece of forest or other land.
‘Carbon offsetting is not the solution to the climate crisis – it’s just a smokescreen for Shell and other companies to continue climate-wrecking business as usual. It sets a dangerous precedent for faking climate action – posing a serious risk to meaningful commitments being made at COP right now.
We need every voice to make our message louder and to make sure that Shell wakes up to the reality of the climate crisis. Can you add your name to the petition?’
On a positive note, lets us hope that Lord Zac Goldsmith’s efforts to use COP to save the world’s rainforests are successful;
‘He said it had “not been easy” to persuade many of the countries involved to join, as the deal requires not just a commitment to halt deforestation – which has never been achieved before, despite numerous failed attempts – and provide forested countries with funds to replace the money they would have made from exploiting forested land, but also to reforming aspects of commodity markets so that buyers cannot get away with importing commodities produced from deforested land.
‘“The different parts of the package are mutually reinforcing,” said Goldsmith. “We are sending a very serious signal to the markets, we have a good pledge from buyers. The market has been blind to the value of the environment … The [current economic] incentives to deforest are 40 times bigger than the incentives to keep healthy forests, so changing that is difficult.”
Many are sceptical of success because of countries’ past record of not coughing up the promised compensation funds. Also, will powerful food companies stop using produce from once forested land unless and until citizens shun these products?
‘….. having a side deal on forestry in the bag is a major boost for the UK as hosts. However, some countries and analysts told the Guardian the agreement, while important, was flawed and lacking in some key respects, with too little cash being dedicated to helping poor countries preserve their forests, and too little emphasis on reducing demand for the commodities – such as soy, palm oil and beef – that drive deforestation in the first place.
If the heads of state were serious, we citizens would need to have the same commitment to inform us of products that destroy the Rainforest/planet, that the government has adopted to get us all vaccinated! With the vaccines, corporations have the government’s ear. When dealing with the survival of the human race on our fragile planet, the advice of those outside the corporate race for profits must be heeded and not censored!
Forgive me for pointing out that, while we receive some one-off donations, I am funding Farms Not Factories myself, and if we are to continue to fight the cruel, antibiotic-led factory farm system, we will need some regular donations from like-minded people. Please consider a monthly subscription of £2/month and help us support a network of smaller scale, humane and healthy UK pig farms, local abattoirs and butchers.
“Our message is simple, we want to help bring an end to this dangerous, inhumane system. Vote for real farming over factory farming.”
– Tracy Worcester, Director
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