Agriculture & COP27

By Climate Champions | November 1, 2022

Agriculture, food, and land use is the largest source of GHG emissions (25%), affecting all planetary boundaries and all Sustainable Development Goals.

According to the Food and Land Use Coalition:

  • ~2 billion ha of agricultural land is degraded
  • 62% of IUCN globally threatened species are adversely affected by agriculture
  • Our systems waste a third of food, resulting in 8% of global emissions
  • ~80% of large marine ecosystems are subject to significant eutrophication
  • +500 million farmers & fishers are in poverty
  • 820 million people are hungry every day
  • 2 billion people are overweight or obese
  • 43% of agricultural workforce are women
  • Agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater withdrawals

What COP27 means for the sector

This COP 27 will occur against a backdrop of a full-blown food, energy, and biodiversity crisis. Over-reliance on fossil fuel intensive agriculture and synthetic fertilizers has led to a depletion of soil and natural resources, increased dependence on foreign supplies, and put millions of lives at risk.

COP 27 is an opportunity to begin the pivot to regenerative agriculture, under a whole food systems approach, that can bring multiple benefits for climate, health, resilience, biodiversity, and social justice. Innovative finance has a large role to play in this — we need to see a 10-fold increase in climate finance to transform agriculture and food systems for food and economic security by 2030.

COP 27 is also an opportunity to reset our relationship to nature. Nature Based Solutions, including regenerative agriculture, have a central role in countries’ NDCs and national adaptation plans. Regenerative agriculture and NbS have a critical role to play in food and agricultural systems, able to sequester 10GT CO2eq per year, make land use net zero by 2030, and a 10GT CO2eq carbon sink by 2030, with benefits for biodiversity and livelihoods.

What’s at stake?

Without commensurate climate finance and innovation for the sector, we will not have the technical or financial means to close the triple gap of producing more food, with less emissions, on the same amount of land. According to the WRI, there is a gap of 56% between the amount of food available today and that required by 2050.

The impact of not doing so is already devastating biodiversity, and will devastate vulnerable communities first. Lack of adequate food is the first and most sensitive climate impact in front line communities. Developing countries will not be able to cope with the humanitarian and fiscal impacts of not acting.

A business-as-usual scenario will continue to deplete nature and generate huge externalities. FAO estimates that at current rate we only have about 60 harvests left.

Asks for NSAs

 

Nature & Land Use

COP27: Day 9

Looking ahead to next month’s UN Biodiversity Conference, the message on Biodiversity Day is clear – we must do more to recognise nature’s fundamental role as part of the climate solution and catalyze concrete measures to protect and restore it. 

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