In an earlier post, I argued that the ‘eat local’ movement risks giving people the false sense that they are making meaningful carbon reductions while also harming developing countries that are singularly dependent on agricultural exports. Today I ran across a news story on the World Business Council for Sustainable Development website that shared some remarks by Ghana’s High Commissoner to Britain, Annan Cato, along similar lines. Some highlights:
“Ending imports of fresh food from Africa under the pretext of combating climate change risks destroying entire communities that have become dependent on the trade, Ghana’s High Commissioner to Britain said on Wednesday.
‘We do understand, of course, that our friends are anxious to make a difference. However, the figures simply do not add up,’ said Annan Cato, noting that less than 0.1 percent of Britain’s carbon emissions relate to airfreighted food. ‘At what cost to global justice do we shut the door on the economic prospects of small farmers in Africa by refusing to buy their produce … There are many other ways for the British shopper to reduce their carbon footprint without damaging the livelihoods of thousands of poor African farming families … Reducing greenhouse gas emissions must be done in a fair, scientific and rational way – making cuts at the expense of the world’s poorest is not only unjust, it is a bad basis for building the international consensus needed for a global deal on climate change.'”
Amen and bravo, High Commissioner!