In the face of rising global tempeatures experts are highligting the role of Agriculture in climate action while ensuring global food security. This comes as 2023 was confirmed to be the warmest year on record.
Kaveh Zahedi, Director of the Office of Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environment, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) believes this calls for concern.
“We mustn't become numb to these records after records toppling because they have implications, implications in terms of increased frequency of extreme weather events, implications in terms of more forest fires, in terms of droughts, floods, etc. And all of these are impacting people, impacting people, especially those on the front lines like the agricultural community. So, these records matter. ....
While agrifood systems contribute to about one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, some experts including Zahedi believe they also hold a huge potential for positive climate action.
“Farms don't just have to be producers of food. They can be generators of renewable energy. Energy can then be used on the farm for the greenhouses, for pumping water, for irrigation, or energy that can be shared into the grid, or better using agricultural waste, turning it into fuels, into biofuels. All of these are really energy smart agriculture solutions, and that's exactly the kind of work that we [FAO] have been doing with countries.”
In December, nations struck a historic deal at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai to transition the global economy away from fossil fuels. The summits Declaration on Agriculture, Food, & Climate received endorsements from 137 countries with $3.5 billion announced to replenish the Green Climate Fund.
“Almost 1.5 billion dollars have been accessed and that funding has been specifically put into actioning these solutions, to bring land and sea under sustainable management. And just that portfolio has given extraordinary dividends. We have over, I think, it's 100 million hectares of land under sustainable management. That has helped to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by over 500 million tonnes and is bringing real benefits in terms of green jobs and livelihoods.”
According to the 2023 edition of the Emissions Gap Report, released in the lead up to COP28, the world must cut emissions by 42 per cent by 2030 to limit warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.