For Immediate Release – November 16, 2022
Sacramento, CA – Today, the California Air Resources Board released its final, updated climate change roadmap, the 2022 Scoping Plan. For the first time, the plan acknowledges the role that alternative systems like organic agriculture can play in mitigating climate change. However, it largely falls short in tackling greenhouse gas emission from agricultural inputs, like synthetic pesticides.
At present, 4% of California’s agricultural land is organically farmed. The Scoping Plan models the goal of organic agriculture comprising 20% of total agricultural acreage across the state by 2045. However, this goal does not keep pace with the market growth of organic products, the sales of which grew from $21.6 billion in 2010 to $51.6 billion in 2020 – more than doubling in only a decade. Much of this demand has come from organic fruits and vegetables — of which California is the top producing state in the country.
Pesticide Action Network’s Organizing Co-Director for California, Asha Sharma, issued the following statement:
“Organic agriculture has been proven to help mitigate climate change, partly by reducing use of synthetic pesticides – the overwhelming majority of which are derived from fossil fuels and emit greenhouse gases throughout their life cycles. Yet, the Scoping Plan leaves out any direct action on synthetic pesticides and includes an unambitious organic adoption target. This is a tremendous oversight, especially as curbing pesticide use would also have an important co-benefit of improving health conditions faced by communities exposed to pesticides, like farmworkers.”
Californians for Pesticide Reform’s Organizing Director Angel Garcia said:
“California had the opportunity to put an ambitious plan forward that would tackle many important sources of greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture. Instead, what we see is a plan that ignores significant sources of greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture, like pesticides.”