COP23 in Bonn: How can the ambitious goals set in the Paris Agreement be met?
From 6-17 November the 23rd UN climate change conference is held in Bonn, Germany. One year ago the Paris Agreement entered into force and now the framework for its implementation is negotiated. This framework will be finalised in 2018.
In the Paris Agreement ambitious goals are set aiming to limit the global warming to 1.5 degrees. The agreement also includes a new system for trade of emission allowances and mechanisms to help developing countries transform and adapt their societies to become more resilient and climate friendly.
When it comes to emission reductions the actual progress after COP21 in Paris has though been slow. A recent report from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) shows that the atmospheric concentration of GHGs is at a record level. Preliminary data for 2017 indicate that the anthropogenic emissions of GHGs still are increasing. The interest for mitigation efforts that remove GHGs from the atmosphere is therefore growing.
A promising strategy to remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere is to plant trees together with crops on agricultural land, i.e. to practise agroforestry. When doing so carbon is stored in aboveground biomass and in the soil. The storage potential in agroforestry systems increases towards the equator and is greater in a humid than in a semiarid or arid climate. Furthermore agroforestry helps farmers to adapt to climate change as trees provide additional sources of food and income and improves the microclimate. Climate change adaption is especially important for farmers living in poverty as they often practise rain-fed agriculture and do not have any buffers to use if a harvest is lost. By practising agroforestry farmers can also improve their yields and get additional income through the sale of tree products.
More and more organisations are recognising the potential of agroforestry as a triple-win mitigation strategy because it stores carbon, adapts food-producing systems to a more variable and extreme climate and allows farmers living in poverty to increase their income.