Ruminant livestock produce about 6 megatonnes (Mt) of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-eq) in methane annually, of which the FAO estimates approximately 500 Mt CO2-eq can be mitigated through practices that increase productivity at the individual animal and herd level. If nothing is done, global livestock-related greenhouse gas emissions are expected to rise by 25-40% by 2050.
At COP23 in Bonn, countries adopted a decision on agri-food systems that will lead to the implementation of policies to address both climate change and food security. They established the “Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture” (KJWA) to develop and implement new strategies for adaptation and mitigation within the agriculture sector. These strategies aim to reduce emissions from the sector and build resilience to climate change impacts. The agreement is the first substantive outcome and COP decision in the history of the UNFCCC processes on agriculture. With Paris Agreement commitments and the KJWA decision in place, countries must produce (at least Tier 2) baselines for agricultural emissions to support their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs); develop tools to support Monitoring, Verification and Reporting (MRV); and put in place context-specific plans and policies to access climate finance.
Despite such aspirations and obligations, accounting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by signatory countries to the Paris Agreement remains challenging. While many countries’ NDCs broadly recognize the role of agriculture in climate change mitigation and adaptation, such ambition is not generally reflected in the programs and targets they have set. As countries work to update and turn their NDCs from plans into action, many lack the capacity, finance, and technical know-how to achieve this on their own.