At COP27, Agriculture’s Role as a Climate Solution Grows

    December 6, 2022

    The 27th Conference of the Parties (COP), organized by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) just wrapped up in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt. Indigo has attended COPs several times in the past, and this year sent a delegation of three staff from our Sustainability Policy & Engagement team: myself, P.V. Sundareshwar, and Meredith Reisfield.

    Agriculture’s Role in Solving the Climate Crisis

    COP is the annual gathering for national delegations to negotiate progress and standards for global climate action, in the context of the Paris Agreement. It’s also an important opportunity for the larger international community to discuss all aspects of climate change. Now more than ever, the international community is looking at food security and the role that agriculture plays in solving the climate crisis. As a business committed to establishing the most rigorous standards and market mechanisms for mitigating climate impacts of agriculture, we were excited to participate in this year’s COP.

    Our team hosted a panel session with the International Emissions Trading Association (IETA), “Scaling Global Agricultural Soil Carbon Markets,” which addressed the challenges and opportunities around agriculture as a climate solution, and how we can scale climate-smart agriculture globally. We want to thank our participants and panelists, Grant Reid and Kevin Rabinovitch of Mars, Angelo Sartori of Verra, and Karen Haugen of Viresco Solutions.
    In addition to the conference sessions, there were many fruitful discussions about agriculture’s role in mitigating climate change, the future of the carbon market, and more.

    Key Learnings from COP27

    • Loss and damage due to climate change was ostensibly the focus of this COP, yet it continues to be a contentious topic. Less-developed nations tend to bear disproportionate costs and impacts from climate catastrophes and are demanding greater compensation from developed nations who contributed disproportionately to the buildup of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in the atmosphere. A tentative agreement was reached on a fund for loss and damage, but many details remain before money will flow where it is needed.
    • Article 6 negotiations continued, with modest progress on implementation. While the rulebook was largely agreed upon at COP26, more details still need to be ironed out. Most interesting to the carbon markets would be a) guidance for transitioning from the Clean Development Mechanism to trading under Article 6.4, and b) the unresolved question of whether the voluntary carbon markets should be required to seek Corresponding Adjustments from host nations. This issue remains divisive within the global community.
    • Agriculture’s profile within the international climate conversation is growing every year. Whereas several years ago there was almost a singular focus on emissions from energy and industrial sectors (plus, perhaps, tropical deforestation), at COP27 there was an entire day devoted to agriculture (Nov 12) as well as multiple pavilions and outside events. Agriculture is increasingly recognized for the significant opportunity to reduce emissions and sequester carbon in soils.
    • We are running out of time. While international discussions continue around voluntary and compliance efforts, our window of opportunity for keeping warming below 1.5° C, or even 2° C for that matter, is rapidly closing. The world needs to quickly deploy solutions at a large scale while continuing to develop the policy frameworks to ensure that financing flows to legitimate & impactful actions. 

    As we return from COP27, the urgency of the climate crisis and the incredible potential of agriculture to mitigate climate change has never been clearer. We’re hopeful and determined that Indigo’s carbon solutions can help forge a path for a more sustainable future.