Action Alert

Fair trade or free trade? Let your voice be heard on Minnesota’s future!

The Obama Administration is negotiating two new mega trade deals (one with Pacific Rim countries, another with Europe) entirely in secret, with the goal of further expanding the NAFTA-model of free trade. These trade agreements could have major impacts on Minnesota's farmers, workers, small business owners and rural communities. They could limit Minnesota’s ability to support local food and energy systems and grow local businesses. In order to stay up to speed, Minnesota has set up a new Trade Policy Advisory Council (TPAC) to advise the state legislature and Governor.

TPAC wants to hear from Minnesotans: What concerns do you have about free trade? What role could TPAC play in the future? Now is your opportunity to have a say in our future trade policy. Complete the survey and let them know future trade negotiations should be public, not secret. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard in the development of trade agreements and that they protect local control and our quality of life. The free trade model has failed for Minnesota and we need a new approach to trade. Help ensure the voices of all Minnesotans are heard before trade agreements are completed, and that they protect local control, our natural resources and our quality of life.

Please take five minutes and complete the survey. To find out more about these trade agreements, go to

Civil society calls on African negotiators to reject carbon markets for agriculture

Funds for agriculture adaptation more urgently needed

By IATP, et. al
Published November 29, 2011

ClimateClimate ChangeGlobal Governance


Durban, South Africa (November 28, 2011) – Over 100 civil society organizations from Africa and around the world sent a letter earlier this week to African negotiators attending the UN global climate talks in Durban, calling for them to reject efforts to place agricultural soils within a carbon market.
Countries in Durban will consider whether to advance a separate agriculture work program within the global climate talks. The agriculture work program “would lead to agricultural soils and agroecological practices being turned into commodities to be sold on carbon markets, or used as sinks to enable industrialized countries to continue to avoid reducing emissions,” the letter said. The group noted that bringing African agriculture into international carbon market schemes could bring about a new threat of speculative land grabs to the continent.
African ministers are being urged by the World Bank to endorse carbon markets for agriculture, despite enormous scientific uncertainty in measuring soil carbon, and the overall failure of carbon markets to generate finance or benefits for developing countries. The groups cited a World Bank supported project in Kenya, where farmers are likely to earn only $1 to $5 per year, while the rest of the money goes to developers and consultants.
“Carbon markets are an over-hyped, unreliable, volatile and inequitable source of funding for Africa,” the groups wrote. “In spite of the vast volumes of money currently associated with carbon markets, only a tiny fraction of this goes to projects on the ground.”
Instead, the groups call for developed countries to fulfill their commitments for climate finance with direct annual contributions to the UN’s Adaptation Fund. In addition, negotiators should consider other innovative sources of finance, including a financial transaction tax, and special drawing rights, which could generate billions of dollars for developing countries to address climate adaptation challenges.
“We believe that agroecological practices are a key strategy for adaptation, mitigation and increased yields for African farmers,” the groups wrote. “But these approaches cannot come packaged with, or be structured for, carbon offset credits.”
You can read the full letter, with signatures here.


       Sign up for our free newsletter!