The Pesticide Collaboration and PAN UK have released a new report – Pesticides and The Climate Crisis: A Vicious Cycle. The report delves into the link between pesticides and the worsening climate crisis, and was inspired by a similar report by PAN North America.
Globally, food systems account for over one-third of all greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, which includes agriculture and pesticide use. The report reveals that many of the world’s biggest oil companies such as ExxonMobil, Shell and ChevronPhillips Chemical produce pesticides or their chemical ingredients.
Pesticides exacerbate the climate emergency throughout their lifecycle via manufacturing, packaging, transportation, application, and even through environmental degradation and disposal. Despite this, pesticide reduction as a solution to the climate crisis has largely been ignored. Pesticide use is even presented as a climate mitigation strategy by the agro-chemical industry, which perpetuates the myth that intensifying food production through the continuous use of harmful chemicals is the only way to guarantee global food security while protecting precious habitats.
Unless we change our approach, the impacts of the climate emergency are expected to lead to an increase in pesticide use, which will create a vicious cycle between chemical dependency and worsening climate breakdown. As temperatures rise, the amount of pests increase and crop resilience goes down, requiring ever-larger amounts of pesticides. This rise in pesticide use will cause insects and weeds to develop resistance to herbicides and insecticides in greater numbers, while also continuing to harm human health and the environment.
We hosted a launch event in Parliament on 5 July, to discuss the report and its findings with parliamentarians. We were really pleased to have cross-party support with speakers from across both Houses, including shadow nature minister Alex Sobel MP (Labour), Duncan Baker MP (Conservative), Baroness Bennett (Green), John McNally MP (SNP), Wera Hobhouse MP (Lib Dem) and Caroline Lucas MP (Green).
We discussed the importance of making sure the government tackles the nature and climate emergencies in a joined-up way, the importance of highlighting the role that agriculture can play in enhancing biodiversity, and how crucial pesticide reduction is in these policy areas.
Read the new report here: Pesticides and the climate crisis – Pesticide Action Network UK (pan-uk.org)