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December 11, 2009

Same Sh*t, Different Administration
Things are not looking good on the agriculture front at the Copenhagen climate talks. According to a representative from the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, a group dedicated to sustainable agriculture and trade policy, American negotiators are being , um, less than productive:

Long, long meeting this afternoon (Dec. 10) on sectoral language for agriculture. First of all, there is confusion as to what the text will end up being -- part of a comprehensive Copenhagen agreement? A separate COP decision? Something else still? Everything seems pretty much up in the air on this topic as different countries hold very different views on this matter.

And then there is the U.S. position. Arguing that the language on agriculture needs to be short and very specific, and that it should avoid any mention of food security, or of linkages between mitigation and adaptation. Hard to believe. How does the U.S. government expect this to be acceptable to developing countries where agriculture is a source of livelihoods for large shares of their populations? And, more broadly, to all stakeholders involved in discussions about agriculture, food and climate change? It has become widely accepted that Copenhagen needs to open a space to deal with agriculture and food security concerns associated with climate change -- the U.S. cannot be serious!

We are Very Serious. Unfortunately, we are also very misguided.

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