COP21 & Farming – Soil, Land & Climate Change.

Updated 01.43 02/12/2015 (photos, videos and info on #COP21 events in Paris)

As the  the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – COP21  begins in Paris, events has been held in 185 countries to put pressure on the negotiators to work hard – and beyond their own national interest – to reach a deal to prevent runaway climate change.

John Brennan of ARC2020 platform members the Leitrim Organic farmers' Co-op with Seamus Bradley of Derrybeg CSA at Dep of Ag HQ in Dublin, Ireland. Behind them the Irish Food Sovereignty Proclamation. This side event, by Food Sovereignty Ireland, occurred after the #ClimateMarch in Ireland. Photo (c) WIlliam Hederman
John Brennan of ARC2020 platform members the Leitrim Organic farmers’ Co-op with Seamus Bradley of Derrybeg CSA at Dep of Ag HQ in Dublin, Ireland. Behind them the Irish Food Sovereignty Proclamation. This side event, by Food Sovereignty Ireland, occurred after the #ClimateMarch in Ireland. Photo (c) WIlliam Hederman

Agri-food activists took part in many of these events, including in Ireland. There, after the 5000 person Climate March, a group from Food Sovereignty Ireland marched to the Irish Department of Agriculture’s building  – Ag House – and pasted their Food Sovereignty Proclamation for Ireland to the building.

Photo (c) William Hederman
Irish Food Sovereignty Proclamation pasted onto Irish Government Buildings Photo (c) William Hederman

This group included the Leitrim Organic Farmers’ Co-operative, AFRI and the newly formed CSA network for Ireland, including Derrybeg CSA.

There Fergal MacAindir of Food Sovereignty Ireland and the  Leaf and Root Farm CSA in Galway spoke of the need for Ireland to produce healthy sustainable food for its people.

50,000 participants, and an as yet unknown number of concerned citizens and activists will descend upon the French capital between now and 12th December.

ARC2020 will be in Paris over the next two weeks, with dedicated articles from Pavlos Georgiadis covering all the important aspects of the negotiations and the action.  Concurrently, members of the ARC2020 team will be in Paris to meet with others from the world of people-and-planet orientated farming and food.

While the security situation has made things more uncertain for non-delegates, a huge and varied array of events are planned.

See the event calendar here in particular the  Regenerative Agriculture event on 7th December. (Also see more events at the bottom of this post).

ReCyclerie Paris, venue for regenerative agriculture event 7th Dec
ReCyclerie Paris, venue for regenerative agriculture event 7th Dec

So what role for agriculture? Can a regenerative agriculture, through better work with soil, sequester carbon to fight climate change? And can this be done whilst giving the most vulnerable food security and also food sovereignty?

According to the growing Regenerative Agriculture movement “we must look beyond emissions reduction and push policymakers to make carbon sequestration via regenerative organic agriculture a key tool for reversing global warming…even if we were to cut all human-induced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions today, the globe would continue to warm for decades or even centuries to come. However, there is hope. There is growing scientific evidence that regenerative organic agriculture can reverse global warming by drawing carbon underground through the natural process of photosynthesis, while at the same time delivering other essential ecological, economic, and health benefits.”

As part of the International Year of Soil, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation produced this snappy little video to help explain how soil can be part of the climate change solution.


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This explains just how much carbon the soil does store, could store, but also looses because of industrial practices.

IFOAM – Organics International (the International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements) have also communicated on this topic in recent days.

“With almost 800 million people suffering from hunger, we need to prioritize the right to food and food security.  If, in the name of fighting climate change, land used by local farmers to produce food is acquired for use in carbon offsetting projects, then a further 600 million could be at risk of hunger by 2080. We don’t want to see the agreement include terms such as “net-zero”, “climate neutral” or “carbon neutral” which could lead to this. We want to see commitment to tackling activities with the highest emissions, such as fertilizer use, particularly in ‘high-emitting’ countries.”  They point to the importance of land in more detail here and have released a video (below).


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They also note that industrialized farming costs $3.33 trillion per year in environmental damage, through practices such as Nitrogen fertilizer production, transport and application. “Industrial farming is one of the major drivers of climate change, and business as usual is not an option, “ states André Leu, President of IFOAM – Organics International. “Only a transition to agroecology and organic farming can lead to deep cuts in emissions from food production. Unless farmers are given the agro-ecological technologies they need to meet the challenges posed by climate change, impacts on food production will be devastating, pushing millions into poverty.” 


This area is dedicated to projects proposed by civil society that are tied in with the fight against climate change. It is open to the general public.


Place to B is creating an innovative and multidisciplinary information factory, with the ambition of writing a different narrative about climate issues and creating a unique newsworthy momentum during the COP21 in Paris, December 2015.


The “4/1000 Initiative: Soils for Food Security and Climate” aims to ensure that agriculture plays its part in combating climate change. A 4/1000 annual growth rate of the soil carbon stock intends to show that even a small increase in the soil carbon stock (agricultural soils, notably grasslands and pastures, and forest soils) is crucial to improve soil fertility and agricultural production and to contribute to achieving the long-term objective of limiting the temperature increase.  Andre Leu, President of IFOAM – Organics International will be speaking here.


Farmers Day brings together farming groups, researchers, civil society, and other advocates to share perspectives on agriculture in light of the United Nation climate change negotiation this December in Paris. See in particular the session “Agroecology as a viable solution to create climate resilience and a sustainable food system” from 16:45—18:15 in Room 5. 


The Tribunal is a unique, citizen-created initiative. It gives people from all around the world the opportunity to testify publicly as to the destruction of the Earth — destruction that governments and corporations not only allow, but in some cases encourage. It is open to the public, but registration is required because space is limited. 


This Forum will leverage this historic opportunity to shape the world’s development agenda for decades to come. Over the past two years, the Global Landscapes Forum has evolved into the world’s leading platform for discussing land-use issues. In Paris, the Forum will bring together 2,500 stakeholders from across sectors, including forestry, agriculture, water, energy, law and finance. 

The ZAC – Climate Action Zone.

In a working class neighbourhood north of Paris, in a cultural centre open to the city, the CENTQUATRE, will hold a “Climate Action Zone” during the last week of the COP21.

From December 7 to 11, the CENTQUATRE-Paris will host the Climate Action Zone (ZAC). For five days, this hub of international creativity, which offers popular and contemporary programming, will be a central place for citizen’s mobilization: the headquarters of Coalition Climat 21.

The ZAC will be an information place (screenings, participate in discussions or discover art exhibitions about climatic disruption.) The ZAC will be the place to increase the rhythm of the mobilisations; demonstrations in the streets, symbolic actions, artistic happenings will be prepared at the CENTQUATRE. A general assembly held each afternoon will bring everyone up to date with the state of negotiations at the COP21, as well as the day’s actions and those planned for the next days.

A total of 150 events are scheduled over the five days.

Programme of Events which includes a  on December 11
Agriculture industrialisation: a false solution to climate disruption Confederation Paysanne + Via Campesina
CENTQUATRE Forum ouvert 13.00HRS

Soil Solutions to Climate Problems Center for Food Safety CENTQUATRE Atelier du Haut 14.00HRS

Watch Center for Food Safety Soil Solutions to Climate Problems video narrated by Michael Pollan


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(added 30/11/2015)

Regenerative Organic Agriculture and Climate Change: A Down-to-Earth Solution to Global Warming (Rodale Institute)

Adaptive multi-paddock grazing could determine, mitigate greenhouse gas emissions (Science Daily)

Evidence for the success of Regenerative Agriculture (new)



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About Oliver Moore 215 Articles

Dr. Oliver Moore is the communications director and editor-in-chief with ARC2020. He has a PhD in the sociology of farming and food, where he specialised in organics and direct sales. He is published in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, International Journal of Agricultural Resources, Governance and Ecology and the Journal of Agriculture, Food Systems, and Community Development. A weekly columnist and contributor with Irish Examiner, he is a regular on Countrywide (Irish farm radio show on the national broadcaster RTE 1) and engages in other communications work around agri-food and rural issues, such as with the soil, permaculture, climate change adaptation and citizen science initiative Grow Observatory . He lectures part time in the Centre for Co-operative Studies UCC.

A propos d'Oliver Moore
Oliver voyage beaucoup moins qu’auparavant, pour ce qui concerne son activité professionnelle. Il peut néanmoins admirer par la fenêtre de son bureau les mésanges charbonnières et les corbeaux perchés au sommet du saule dans le jardin de sa maison au cœur de l’écovillage de Cloughjordan, en Irlande. L’écovillage est un site de 67 acres dans le nord du Tipperary. Il comprend d’espaces boisés, des paysages comestibles, des lieux de vie, d’habitation et de travail, ainsi qu’une ferme appartenant à la communauté. Les jours où il travaille dans le bureau du centre d’entreprise communautaire, il profite d’une vue sur les chevaux, les panneaux solaires, les toilettes sèches et les jardins familiaux. 

Ce bureau au sein de l’écovillage constitue en effet un tiers-lieu de travail accueillant également des collaborateurs des associations Cultivate et Ecolise, ainsi qu’un laboratoire de fabrication (« fab lab »). 

Oliver est membre du conseil d’administration de la ferme communautaire (pour la seconde fois !) et donne également des cours sur le Master en coopératives, agroalimentaire et développement durable à l’University College Cork. Il a une formation en sociologie rurale : son doctorat et les articles qu’il publie dans des journaux scientifiques portent sur ce domaine au sens large.

Il consacre la majorité de son temps de travail à l’ARC 2020. Il collabore avec ARC depuis 2013, date à laquelle l’Irlande a assuré la présidence de l’UE pendant six mois. C’est là qu’il a pu constater l’importance de la politique agroalimentaire et rurale grâce à sa chronique hebdomadaire sur le site d’ARC. Après six mois, il est nommé rédacteur en chef et responsable de la communication, poste qu’il occupe toujours aujourd’hui. Oliver supervise le contenu du site web et des médias sociaux, aide à définir l’orientation de l’organisation et parfois même rédige un article pour le site web. 

À l’époque où on voyageait davantage, il a eu la chance de passer du temps sous les tropiques, où il a aidé des ONG irlandaises de commerce équitable – au Ghana, au Kenya, au Mali, en Inde et au Salvador – à raconter leur histoire.

Il se peut que ces jours-là reviennent. Pour son compte Oliver continuera de préférer naviguer en Europe par bateau, puis en train. Après tout, la France n’est qu’à une nuit de navigation. En attendant, il y a toujours de nombreuses possibilités de bénévolat dans la communauté dans les campagnes du centre de l’Irlande.