Food and climate

In this space we bring together our materials on the link between the global food system and the climate crisis

When we think of the big drivers of climate change, cars and air travel often come to mind. But transformations over the past century in the way food is produced and consumed have resulted in more greenhouse gas emissions than those from transportation. The biggest culprits? Industrial meat and dairy.

The most widely cited official estimate holds that the food system is responsible for up to 30 per cent of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Some of these emissions are due to the growth of packaged and frozen foods, the increased distance foods are shipped and the rise in food waste. But the most important source of food system-related GHG emissions is the escalation of meat and dairy consumption—made possible by the expansion of industrial livestock and chemical-intensive feed crops. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) says meat production alone now generates more GHG emissions than all the world’s transport combined.

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Based on the video Together we can cool the planet! co-produced by La Vía Campesina and GRAIN in 2015, we have created a comic book to support training activities of social movements and civil society organisations around climate change. This comic book looks at how the industrial food system impacts our climate and also explains what we can do to change course and start cooling the planet.

We say loud and clear: it is peasants and small farmers, along with consumers who choose agroecological products from local markets, who hold the solution to the climate crisis. We must all rise to the challenge!

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This video by La Vía Campesina and GRAIN gives you the information you need to understand how the agroindustrial food system is impacting our climate, and at the same time what we can do to change course and start cooling the planet. And every single one of us is part of the solution! (now available with Arabic subtitles)

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Africa will be centre-stage at this year’s Conference of Parties on climate change (COP 22) in Marrakech. According to the Moroccan steering committee, this is the “African COP”. The event will feature an “Africa Pavilion”, with activities supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB), the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)—institutions that work to create favourable conditions for corporate investments in Africa. Thus, in Africa (and globally), the debate on climate change is captured by banks and corporations—the very institutions that, through their relentless pursuit of profit above all else, are the main drivers of global climate change.

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The global food system is not only extremely inefficient and environmentally costly; it is also profoundly unjust. But governments look at the problem through a very narrow lens. Figures from the COP 21 negotiations in Paris place the impact of agriculture on climate change at 24%. Our data reveal that they are missing the bigger picture. A GRAIN opinion piece for the Korean International Strategy Centre.

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Can large-scale agriculture help fight climate change?  Linus Blomqvist and GRAIN make case for and against on the Chinadialogue site.

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#COP21: cooling the planet—frontline communities lead the struggle

Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles | 09 December 2015 | Other publications, Food and climate

Join this public event organised by the Global Convergence of Land and Water Struggles on Thursday 10 December 2015 at 13:00-17:00 in Paris. 

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"How the food system drives climate change and what we can do about it"

A new book by GRAIN

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While all the focus and hope for tackling climate change is on COP 21 in Paris, starting today, secretive global trade deals are already negating any commitments that might be made at the summit. The texts from the various trade agreements, including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), make it clear that they will increase production, trade and consumption of fossil fuels. An article by GRAIN for the Guardian.

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Food, ag and climate @ COP21

GRAIN | 28 November 2015 | Food and climate

A listing of key programmes of activities on the connections between farming, the food system and climate change during the COP21 in Paris (30 Nov - 11 Dec 2015)

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