Appeal to the Representatives of Nations and International Institutions Meeting in Marrakech

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Author: Slow Food 

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) will be held in Marrakech from November 7 to 18, 2016. The first objective of the Marrakech conference will be to start work on the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

In the run-up to this event, which will put the climate at the center of global political debate, attention is focused on the energy, heavy industry and transport sectors, while the relationship between food and climate still has a more marginal role in discussions.

And yet, as Slow Food has already pointed out in the document it produced last year for COP 21, not only does food production represent one of the main causes—and victims—of climate change, it could also become one of the solutions.

The profound connection between agriculture and climate change is also highlighted by this years’s State of Food and Agriculture report from the FAO, which states that the agricultural sector is currently responsible for a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions, deriving primarily from the conversion of forests to agricultural land, as well as from animal and plant production.

According to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report, the planet’s average temperature has risen by 0.85°C in the last 100 years. Monthly heat records were broken for a record 15th month in a row between April 2015 and July 2016, and forecasts leave little hope for improvement in the future. According to climate simulation models, without limits on greenhouse gas emissions the average temperature could rise by up to 5°C by the end of the century, but a rise of even 2°C would bring devastating environmental and social consequences. Once unusual phenomena, such as extreme heatwaves, floods, droughts and hurricanes are becoming more commonplace, and biodiversity is being eroded at an unprecedented rate. Meanwhile, the rising temperature of the oceans and their increasing acidification is undermining their capacity to stabilize the climate.

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