U.S. farm leaders tout role at COP25 meeting

-The Hagstrom Report

U.S. farm leaders under the banner of the North America Climate Smart Agricultural Alliance (NACSAA) are making a series of presentations this week at the Madrid meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), formally known as the Conference of the Parties or COP25, a gathering to establish rules to implement the Paris climate agreement.

In a news release, NACSAA said its contingent includes its chairman Fred Yoder, an Ohio farmer; American Soybean Association President Ray Gaesser; former California Agriculture and Food Director A.G. Kawamura, and Solutions from the Land President Ernie Shea.

Other allies joining to represent and advance the views and positions of North America agriculture include delegates from the U.S. Grains Council, Growth Energy, the Renewable Fuels Association, The Fertilizer Institute, Cornell University, the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions [C2ES], and other NACSAA partners, the group said.

NACSAA’s delegation is in Madrid building support for the alliance’s latest recommendations. Submitted in late September, the submission addresses nutrient use and manure management.

Earlier this week, Yoder, Kawamura and Shea were guests of U.S. Ambassador to Spain Duke Buchan III at a reception he held at his residence for the U.S. congressional delegation in Madrid for COP 25.

There, delegation members met and spoke with a number of the U.S. lawmakers in attendance, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis Kathy Castor, D-Fla., and Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich.

Yoder represented NACSAA at the Koronivia workshop while Kawamura spoke at a “Future of the Food System” event.

Gaesser and Shea are on the program Saturday at a U.S. Climate Action forum, where they will be discussing climate smart agriculture initiatives at the state and national level.

A common message the contingent is delivering in Madrid is a call for support of the guiding principles that were developed to ensure that farmers remain at the center of all discussions and decision-making related to agricultural solutions. They also assert that findings must be science-based.

In Madrid, the contingent defended ethanol against charges it does not improve the environment.

Yoder said, “I have doubled yields on my land in the last 20 years while at the same time improving soil health, increasing carbon sequestration on the land I farm and all the while producing crops for both food and energy. My farming business would not be viable without both markets.”

“While much of COP25 is concerned with future innovations and politically challenging solutions for climate action in transport, ethanol is already viable, scalable and cost effective,” Yoder said. “It works in today’s transport system. There is significant supply capacity available for immediate deployment and new capacity can be easily added.”

Eric Sievers, director at Pannonia Bio, said that, “Regulation to support the ethanol contribution in climate action to date has been very successful.”

“For ethanol to get to the end user it must first be procured and distributed by the very firms that have the least to gain from it, the oil companies, and yet it is working. This track record of regulatory success demonstrates that climate action policy-makers can depend on.”

Gaesser and Shea are scheduled to appear Saturday on a panel at the U.S. Climate Action forum on the climate smart agriculture (CSA) initiatives being undertaken at the state and national level. The farmer panel is among a series being held in Madrid Saturday by the U.S. Climate Action Center, an alliance of U.S. cities, states, tribes, businesses, faith groups, universities and others operating under the premise “We Are Still In” and intent on preserving a U.S. role in finding solutions to the growing threat of a changing climate.

The panel discussion will showcase American farmers as innovators, continually adapting to the increasing challenges of climate change impacts, like droughts, floods, record high temperatures, and wildfires, Solutions from the Land said in a news release.

The panel will also feature Tim Dwight, Iowa Solar Energy Trade Association; Noah Walker, Indigo Carbon; and Lauren Wolahan, who is with the panel’s host, Climate Nexus, a non-profit organization formed to promote solutions to climate change.