COP26

Fairtrade: COP 26 is a ‘cop out’

By Anthony Myers

- Last updated on GMT

Stretches of Brazil's rainforest have been cut down, but it is one of the signatories at COP26 to end deforestation by 2030. Pic: WCF
Stretches of Brazil's rainforest have been cut down, but it is one of the signatories at COP26 to end deforestation by 2030. Pic: WCF

Related tags: COP26, deforestation

‘This COP’s outcome is in many ways a cop out, a frustrating conclusion to this summit filled with hope that we would see a start to the healing of our world… said Mary Kinyua, responding to the outcome of the Glasgow summit.

Kinyua is Fairtrade’s Head of Delegation for COP26 and Kenyan flower farmer, in a statement she said: “As farmers ourselves, representing 1.8 million Fairtrade farmers and workers across the world already living with the devastating realities of climate change, we came to Glasgow in good faith, hoping our world leaders would listen to our voices and keep their promises. Our message – of ensuring the planet temperature rise remains within 1.5 degrees and that the costs of addressing a changing climate would not be unfairly placed on those of us who did the least to cause it – could not have been clearer​.”

Deforestation

COP26 is the UN’s climate change conference and stands for Conference of the Parties. Its 2021 gathering was held in Glasgow from 31 October to 12 November and the summit's first major deal was a promise to end and reverse deforestation by 2030.

The pledge included almost £14bn ($19.2bn) of public and private funds and Brazil - where more than 580 thousand hectares planted with cocoa were harvested in 2019, but stretches of its Amazon rainforest have been cut down - was among the signatories.

Environmental experts welcomed the promise but said commitments needed to be delivered on as felling trees contributes to climate change because it depletes forests that absorb vast amounts of the warming gas CO2.

Kinyua said: “Promises on deforestation are critical for millions like me for whom farming is a way of life, and the announcement of a ‘Just Rural Transition Fund’ is an encouraging move. The key will be ensuring these new funds are delivered as promised, and that they actually reach farmers and our communities in low-income countries, and reaches them swiftly.​”

She said its hard to understand why the prospect of a 2.4 degree temperature rise has not driven world governments to deliver on the promises made in Paris.

It is hard to understand why the climate finance promise of $100 billion per year is still outstanding. It is painful to see that no commitment at all has been made to pay for the unavoidable loss and damage faced by our communities​.”

Before she left Glasgow, Kinyua warned: “Fairtrade farmers and citizens of the global Fairtrade movement will not let this stand. We are already working to tackle the climate crisis on the frontline in our communities, with the knowledge and love of the land that we have as farmers. And we know that there are Fairtrade buyers and businesses and supporters who will stand with us, working alongside us day to day to do what we can and calling for action until promises are finally kept. We are doing our part, it’s time for the leaders to do theirs.”

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