International Climate Change Negotiations and Agriculture

Date period
29 May 2009

SummaryAgriculture will be greatly impacted by climate change and will require substantial adaptation efforts. At the same time, the agricultural sector is responsible for a significant amount of global greenhouse gas emissions, and has an important potential role in climate change mitigation. While its importance is recognized, agriculture has not figured largely in the international climate change negotiations to date. It is, however, expected to figure more prominently, as witnessed by the first ever workshop on agriculture recently held as part of the negotiations in Bonn.

The purpose of this paper is to provide an overview of the existing international climate change agreements and the international negotiations underway and to point out the ways in which the agricultural sector is – or may be – addressed in the international climate regulatory framework. This overview is not intended to be a comprehensive analysis; rather it seeks to provide background information, outline options and identify areas which could usefully benefit from further analysis. We emphasize the non-technical nature of the paper, which is mainly intended to inform stakeholders interested in agriculture, who may not yet be familiar with the climate change negotiations. Readers are encouraged to refer to other sources, including those referenced here, for more detailed technical information.

The brief will examine the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), which entered into force in 1994, and the Kyoto Protocol to the UNFCCC, adopted in Kyoto, Japan, on 11 December 1997, that entered into force on 16 February 2005. We then focus on options and proposals for addressing agriculture-related issues in the Bali Road Map, which is to conclude in Copenhagen in December 2009.