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 iatp.org/tradesecrets.

Governments at Cancún climate talks need to support local solutions

By Ben Lilliston   Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy
Published November 29, 2010

AgricultureClimateUnited Nations

cancÚn, Mexico – Governments attending the global climate talks in Cancún, which begin today, need to abandon loophole-ridden carbon markets and support bottom-up climate solutions that integrate equity, food security and democratic participation, according to the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Today, IATP released a new series of papers focusing on agriculture and climate change. The series covers issues related to agricultural practices, climate finance and adaptation strategies. IATP is sending six staff members to the United Nations climate talks and is hosting an official side event on climate-friendly agriculture, as well as speaking at a number of civil society workshops.

“Climate negotiators, led by the U.S., are too distracted by trying to set up unworkable rules for a new carbon market that will primarily benefit big financial players and the big polluting countries,” said IATP President Jim Harkness. “We need to get back to basics by strengthening commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, supporting local efforts and fulfilling funding obligations to countries struggling to adapt to the effects of climate change.”

IATP’s new series emphasizes that negotiators in Cancún should not consider agriculture as simply an offset for polluters. Rather, agriculture has a multifunctional role in society to provide food security, protect the environment and provide livelihoods for people around the world. Papers in the series include:

“Financing Agricultural Adaptation to Climate Change: A Modest Beginning,” by Steve Suppan – Proposes concrete short-term options for financing climate change adaptation in developing countries.

“Women at the Center of Climate-friendly Approaches to Agriculture and Water,” by Shiney Varghese – Profiles the agricultural practices of the Tamilnadu Women’s Collective in India that both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“Grain Reserves: A Smart Climate Adaptation Policy,” by Sophia Murphy – Makes the connection between efforts to ensure food security and climate change adaptation.

“A Farm Bill for a Cooler Planet,” by Julia Olmstead and Jim Kleinschmit – Examines how the U.S. Farm Bill could support practices that both mitigate and adapt to climate change.

“The New Climate Debt: Carbon Trading Wrapped in a Green Bond Proposal,” by Steve Suppan – Analyzes a climate finance proposal by the International Emissions Trading Association that would enrich global carbon traders.

You can read all of the papers in IATP’s climate series, as well as blog reports from Cancún by IATP staff, at www.iatp.org/climate.

To hear directly from farmers on how climate change is affecting their lives, see IATP’s new Voices of Agriculture and Climate website at www.climateandagriculture.org.




       Sign up for our free newsletter!