Representing farmers at Bonn Climate Change Conference

30 June 2022

Jenny alongside Ceris Jones - NFU Climate Chnage Advisor, and Kate Adams - NFU North East Environment Advisor

In June I attended the UNFCCC UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn alongside NFU (National Farmers'​ Union) colleagues Ceris Jones and Kate Adams to represent the 'Farmers Constituency', follow negotiations, meet with partner organisations and highlight the role of agriculture in addressing climate change.

Representatives of the world’s governments met at the Bonn Climate Change Conference, 6-16 June 2022, to follow up on the agreements made at the COP26 conference in Glasgow in 2021. Discussions at COP26 had signalled a move from negotiation to implementation.

Negotiations on the role of agriculture continued but unfortunately some of the meetings were only open to government representatives, and progress sems slow. The NFU wants to see the Koronivia Roadmap, which is due to report later this year, deliver concrete next steps for farmers in the UK and across the world.

The Bonn conference saw the first technical dialogue of the first Global Stocktake. The latter is a fundamental component of the Paris Agreement on climate change and aims to help national governments:

  • see what they have achieved
  • identify what still needs to be done
  • highlight opportunities to increase their ambition on climate action.

I spoke on behalf of the Farmers Constituency in the Opening Plenary of the Global Stocktakes Technical Dialogue to highlight the unique position of agriculture as both a source & a sink of GHG emissions. Research and practice have highlighted that numerous measures in agriculture can deliver on both adaptation and mitigation but also multiple other environmental and community benefits. However, there are no silver bullets for this unique sector, and one size will not fit all. Farmers solutions are grounded in day-to-day and generational experiences of working and living on the land.

We welcomed this opportunity for the voice of farmers to be heard to ensure a meaningful, inclusive and transparent process to get us all back on track to deliver our ambitions, whilst ensuring food security.  

There was progress in some areas. Governments and numerous stakeholders showcased solutions, opportunities and innovations across their economies. However, hurdles remain. For example, 'loss and damage', which describes climate impacts which cannot be or have not been alleviated or adapted to, is still a political hot potato. Developed countries worry that if they have to pay for historic emissions it could put their countries on the hook for billions of pounds.

Next steps

There will be other opportunities throughout the year to act on such outstanding issues, including the G7 Leaders’ Summit and the United Nations General Assembly in September. But if these aren’t realised, it could make for a difficult time at COP27 in Egypt.

As outgoing UNFCCC executive secretary Patricia Espinosa said, “We all know that the world of COP27 will look nothing like it did for COP26. It is a world beset with conflicts, energy, food and economic crises… and the global pandemic is still with us.”

 

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