By Morgan Heckerd
As the climate negotiations continue here in Paris, so does the conflict, the injustice, the inequity, and the straight-up absurdity. Secretariats, delegates, and corporations are all gathered in one place, deciding our future, has led to some questionable statements.
Inside the climate talks, corporations are being praised for their so-called “ambition” on tackling climate change. Last week Monsanto was championed “Climate Hero,” despite its history of contribution to the destabilization of sustainable agriculture and the food security of millions.
On Wednesday of week one at COP21, Monsanto Co. announced its intentions to reach carbon neutrality by 2021.
First of all, many civil society groups have issues with the language of “carbon neutrality,” and “net-zero emissions,” because it does not mean real zero emissions. It simply means buying carbon-offsets from somewhere else. Often times these offset credits are linked to environmental projects that disrespect the human rights of the people living in the community where the project is implemented.
Secondly, the majority of Monsanto’s negative impact in the agriculture sector has not been caused by their carbon emissions. The corporation has threatened small farmers’ independence and traditional farming practices. Monsanto’s products have polluted land around the world, depleting the soils of fertility and killing native crops as they go.
So why is Monsanto, and corporations alike, being praised for their ambition? What incentives do governments have to glorify these corporations in the international space? These corporations are only causing additional harm to climate vulnerable communities.
In Article 2 of the Convention, Parties promised, “to ensure that food production is not threatened,” and while Monsanto Co. is securing industrial food production, it is actively impeding any capability of doing so in a healthy (for the people and the climate) way. Considering the threat it poses on small scale, organic, traditional farming, Monsanto and corporations alike are not part of the climate solution.