(COMMON DREAMS) Andrea Germanos — Fertilizer companies are the “Exxons of agriculture” and are blocking beneficial climate climate policies with their massive lobbying power, a new report charges.
The publication by GRAIN, an international nonprofit organization that advocates for locally-controlled, biodiversity-based food systems, describes how the fertilizer industry, whose products the group says are responsible for up to 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions, has joined forces with major corporations like Walmart in order to cast itself as a purveyor of “climate smart” policies while protecting its interests.
Yet these so-called “climate smart” polices that rely on the industry’s products are anything but, GRAIN states. Take nitrogen fertilizers—they take a lot of energy to produce, and they are increasingly relying on fracked wells for that production. The damage continues once they’re applied to fields, the report continues:
The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) estimates that for every 100 kg of nitrogen fertilizer applied to the soil, one kg ends up in the atmosphere as nitrous oxide (N2O), a gas that is 300 times more potent than CO2 as a greenhouse gas and is the world’s most significant ozone-depleting substance. In 2014, this was equivalent to the average annual emissions of 72 million cars driven in the US—about a third of the US fleet of cars and trucks.
“Fertilizer companies, like Yara of Norway, are the Exxons of agriculture,” Henk Hobbelink, the Coordinator of GRAIN, said in a media statement. “They fuel a model of agriculture that is destroying the planet and they are doing everything in their power to block action on climate change that would injure their profits.”
Case in point of the industry’s power to block such action is the Global Alliance for Climate Smart Agriculture. Launched last year at the UN Summit on Climate Change in New York, GACSA’s stated goal is “is to improve people’s food security and nutrition in the face of climate change.”