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Carbon credits for direct seeding and soybeans

Carbon credits for direct seeding and soybeans

By GRR

The Kyoto Protocol includes in its article 12, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enables industrialized countries to acquire emission reduction certificates, buying shares in projects that supposedly sequester or reduce the emissions produced. In practice, these mechanisms enable the countries of the northern hemisphere to pollute to the extent that they invest green bonds in carbon sequestration areas in the countries of the southern hemisphere.


Governments agreed in 1997 to the Kyoto Protocol, officially known as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The agreement entered into force on February 16, 2005, after 55 nations ratified it, accounting for 55% of greenhouse gas emissions. Currently, the Framework Agreement has the support of 166 countries. The Kyoto Protocol includes, among other agreements, and as article 12, the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), which enables industrialized countries to acquire emission reduction certificates, buying shares in projects that supposedly sequester or reduce emissions produced. In practice, these mechanisms enable the countries of the northern hemisphere to pollute to the extent that they invest green bonds in carbon sequestration areas in the countries of the southern hemisphere.

In June 2005, the then Secretary of the Environment of Argentina, Atilio Savino, at a meeting on Climate Change in the city of Buenos Aires, received the main entities that represented soy and corn producers. Hernán Carlino, head of the Argentine Office of the Clean Development Mechanism and president from 2005 to 2007 of the accreditation table of projects that aspired to investments of the United Nations CDM participated in the same meeting (remember that of bonds of Carbon for agriculture began to speak officially only in Bali, in December 2007). The official, [1] who was promoting the State policies of the biotechnological soybean model, explained at that meeting, the possibilities that were generated for agrofuels from the implementation of the Kyoto protocol: “When a carbon restriction is created, alternatives appear very interesting commercials ”, he said, encouraging the optimism of the agribusiness audience. The Engineer Santiago Lorenzatti, General Coordinator of AAPRESID, at that time in charge of the direct seeding certification Project, brought to light the great concern that motivated soybean farmers, when he asked about what possibilities he had to propose to agricultural crops industrial, as one of the alternatives in the matter of carbon sequestration, to be able to enter the emissions trade. The official Hernán Carlino replied that: "this proposal did not have until now significant international" partners ", but an attempt will be made to reopen the debate, given the interest it has for the country, a world leader in direct sowing".

AAPRESID has currently created the registered trademark "Certified Agriculture" whose owner is precisely Santiago Lorenzatti himself, the same one who in 2005 asked about the possibilities for soy monocultures to enter the emissions trade. In 2008, the same character anticipated the future by stating: “We sought to enter the carbon credit market, but then we saw that direct seeding was not recognized as a sequestering activity in the Kyoto protocol ... proactive scheme, aiming to differentiate itself and design a protocol to achieve a certification of the good practices contained in a system that Argentina has managed to export to other countries. After 30 years of direct sowing, the fruits are beginning to be seen ... We are aware that we are adopting an overcoming and sustainable system. It must be taken into account that no more than nine percent of the world surface is under direct sowing; we have the opportunity to position ourselves to retain and capture that value ”.


In August 2009, the soy lobbyists always backed by the Argentine State and in particular by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where a strange civil service assembly has taken place between people influenced by corporations, seventies and Stalinists, it seems that they are finally achieving their objective . The United Nations Office for Climate Change has just introduced a new methodology for carbon credits from agriculture, which will benefit chemical direct seeding and soy monocultures. The methodology consists of granting carbon credits to crops that include the inoculation of soybeans and corn. According to financial analysts, the beneficiary inoculant will be the one produced and patented by Becker Underwood. Precisely, in 2008, the Becker Underwood company signed an agreement with Monsanto whereby they will work together for the production of corn, soybean and cotton seed treatments. In other words, the new technology package will contain the glyphosate and bacteria from Becker Underwood. Publicly Becker Underwood admits that this methodology was designed by members of the company itself. In this way, soyaRR will be able to enter the carbon market on the sole merit of inoculating the seeds. These days, lobbyists aim for direct seeding to be recognized as a carbon sequestrant and thus, it is very likely that in a few months, the soybean territories will participate in the gigantic financial and subsidiary roulette, which will be inaugurated from the end of the year, with the international trade of Carbon Bonds. [2]

The big difference between the Kyoto treaty and the next Climate Change Conference to be held in December in Copenhagen, will be that the United States will have to accept for the first time the need to lower carbon dioxide emissions. Recently, and almost in parallel with the approval, by the United Nations Office, of the carbon credits methodology that would benefit direct seeding in agriculture, the North American Government approved with half sanction, the Climate Law, " climate bill ”or Climate Law. That legislation, if passed by the Senate, would legitimize and enable monumental financial engineering linked to the carbon credit market. The New York Times specifically refers to an emissions market, in which a trillion dollars will probably circulate and which will undoubtedly help to restore financial equilibrium. It is evident that North American politicians, in concert with the lobbyists of the biotechnology industry, are doing everything possible to make industrial agriculture the great beneficiary of carbon credits, that is, of the hidden subsidies for direct seeding. Monsanto is the corporation that has invested the most to date in lobbying politicians who passed the Climate Bill.

The North American press thus anticipates that the new scenarios to which the carbon market applied to agriculture opens up, imply high investments and that the speculative risk will be significant. [3] Part of that financial speculation, currently in crisis after the debacle of mortgage loans, known as sub / prime, will then be recycled with Carbon credits and their new markets. In fact, the new bubbles are already beginning to form in global markets. The head of the Agriculture Commission of the North American Chamber of Deputies Collin Peterson, in his recent presentation to North American soybeans, told them that, with the Climate Bill, the price of grains will increase from 1.8 to 4.6%. [4]

What, then, would an Argentine soybean have to do to claim carbon credits and add it to his enormous current earnings? Surprisingly, almost the same thing it has done for the past 13 years. The new agreements only require you to have rotated soybeans and corn in the last three periods, and to have used inoculants, such as those usually recommended by INTA. Producers must also provide reliable and verifiable data on the amount of urea used, at least in the last three complete corn and soybean rotations. The controls will most likely be carried out by the soybean farmers themselves from AAPRESID, or perhaps perverse mechanisms will be devised for the purpose, from the same Round Table on responsible soy, which is led by the Corporations and their native partners. So, once again, the foxes will take care of the henhouse.

With carbon credits and the recently approved clean development mechanisms, no-tillage chemical agriculture will be able to start its “transgenic green revolution” in Africa and in other parts of the planet, where Agribusiness is not yet hegemonic. In this way, and against all the logic of a discourse concerned about climate change, the United Nations is making possible an unprecedented advance in the global commodification of food and agriculture, while legitimizing overwhelming concentrations of the chains agri-food that will allow gigantic corporate businesses. The next Climate Change treaty to be celebrated in December in Copenhagen, if we cannot stop these political tendencies, will deepen the extensive situation of de-ruralization, de-peasantization and deterritorialization of the rural world. The consequences of these policies will be to encourage forced emigration to rich countries and cities to unimaginable limits, accentuate the massive depopulation of immense spaces on the planet and cause increasingly gigantic overcrowding in all large cities transformed into unmanageable megalopolises and on the brink of collapse.

Finally, we reaffirm: that Food Sovereignty continues to constitute the main axis of any alternative in the face of the threats of the biotechnological Agribusiness model; that it is possible to generate productive models that are friendly to the environment, that respect common goods and that are capable of preserving them for future generations; That feeding oneself has increasingly become a political act, an act of conscience, insubordination and resistance, as well as a practice that fosters rebellious networks of commercialization on a human scale and of family production and food self-sufficiency.

GRR. Rural Reflection Group, Climate Change
www.grr.org.ar - August 2009

[1] http://cdm.unfccc.int/UserManagement/FileStorage/YK33E8WHQMT2I92O2ZIMONSKS0EOG6
The official started the credit policy for the incorporation of inoculants in 2007 when he was the chair of the borrad accreditation.

[2] http://www.seedquest.com/News/ releases / 2008 / february / 21809.htm

[3] http://www.reuters.com/article/(…)

[4] www.greenpacks.org/…/impact-of-amended-climate-bill-on-us-farms-‘tolerable’/


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