The Politics of Fertilizer and the Exxons of Agriculture


The full article by Grain was originally written for In These Times

It goes without saying that oil and coal companies should not have a seat at the policy table for decisions on climate change. Their profits depend on business-as-usual and they’ll do everything in their power to undermine meaningful action.

But what about fertilizer companies? They are essentially the oil companies of the food world: the products they get farmers to pump into the soil are the largest source of green-house gas emissions from farming. Fertilizers, too, have their fortunes wrapped in agribusiness-as-usual and the expanded development of cheap sources of energy such as fracked shale gas.

Exxon and BP must envy the ease their fertilizer counterparts have had in infiltrating the climate change policy arena. When world leaders convened for the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) in Paris in December, only one major intergovernmental initiative emerged to deal with climate change and agriculture—and it was controlled by the world’s largest fertilizer companies.

The Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture, launched at the 2014 United Nations (UN) Summit on Climate Change in New York, was the culmination of several years of efforts by the fertilizer lobby to block meaningful action on agriculture and climate change. The Alliance’s 29 non-governmental founding members included three fertilizer industry lobby groups, two of the world’s largest fertilizer companies (Yara of Norway and Mosaic of the United States), and a handful of organizations working directly with fertilizer companies on climate change programs. Today, 60 percent of the private sector members of the Alliance still come from the fertilizer industry.

Read more via In These Times
The Politics of Fertilizer and the Exxons of Agriculture