How countries are reducing agricultural emissions of SLCPs to reduce air pollution and climate change with benefits for food security

27 April, 2021
14.00
15.30 CET
Online event

Side event

This event will focus on how countries are reducing agricultural emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to simultaneously reduce air pollution and climate change with benefits for food security.

Climate change and air pollution increasingly threaten food production and supply, making the challenge of ending hunger and malnutrition more difficult than ever. This situation is further aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic that has inflicted severe economic damage at all scales, from the local to the global economy.

With food demand projected to sharply increase by 2050, action is needed to prevent the worst impacts of climate change and air pollution on food security and allow time for agricultural production systems to adapt.

Reducing agricultural emissions of short-lived climate pollutants, like methane and black carbon, is vital if the world is to keep warming to 1.5 ̊ C by the end of the century. Agriculture, forestry and other land use are estimated to be responsible for about 23 percent of all greenhouse gases emitted worldwide, including roughly 40 percent of global black carbon emissions and half of all human-made methane emissions.

There is a clear need to balance emissions reductions with agricultural productivity and food security as close to 800 million people – or 78 percent of the world’s poorest and most food insecure people – live in rural areas in developing countries, where they rely on agriculture for their livelihoods (reference). Smallholder and women farmers, in particular, often lack voice and power within global agricultural value chains, meaning the implementation of measures to reduce short-lived climate pollutant emissions from agricultural production must consider these broader inequalities, as well as be a priority for country governments and agricultural businesses. In addition, short-lived climate pollutant reduction measures for agricultural production must be coupled with efforts to tackle demand-side emissions driven by diet/consumption and food waste/loss and disposal.

Safeguarding food security, ending hunger and the particular vulnerabilities of food production systems are recognized as fundamental priorities in the response to climate change. The goals of the Paris Agreement cannot be met without transformative changes in the agriculture sector. Incorporating more ambitious, explicit, and directed actions in the agriculture sector in enhanced nationally determined contributions (NDCs) can play an important role in making this necessary transition.

Actions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, including methane and black carbon, have multiple benefits and can help protect food security, including:

  • Reductions in climate change impacts preventing up to 0.6ºC of warming by 2050.
  • Reductions in air pollution impacts on crop yields halving global crop losses from these pollutants by 2050 by reducing methane emissions, an ingredient in the formation of tropospheric ozone. This would save between $4 to $33 billion USD.
  • Supporting poor and food-insecure populations. Currently, 1 in 9 people go hungry every day. Worldwide 2.5 billion people depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. Tackling air pollution and climate change through the reduction of short-lived climate pollutants can help end hunger, a Sustainable Development Goal for 2030.
  • Balancing climate action with poverty alleviation. Acting on climate change, especially in the near-term, is critical to ensuring food security and preserving the livelihoods of millions. At the same time, the agriculture sector is a contributor to climate change.

The Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) supports countries to identify increasingly ambitious actions, policies and targets across the food system. The CCAC demonstrates solutions to reduce short-lived climate pollutants that deliver quick benefits for the climate and air quality. All solutions are based on existing technology and can be carried out at no or low cost.

As part of this process, the CCAC commissioned a paper developed by WRI and Oxfam on opportunities for increased ambition in the agriculture sector. The paper aims to help countries think through the process of enhancing their NDCs to include strengthened actions in the agriculture sector, including short-lived climate pollutant commitments. The paper underscores the need for a tailor-made approach to NDC enhancement that is suited to a country’s unique set of circumstances. A broad range of actions are identified that can benefit adaptation and mitigation imperatives in the agriculture sector, if the right enabling environment is in place. It offers practical examples for how these actions may be included in an enhanced NDC.

Objective of the session:

To demonstrate how countries are reducing agricultural emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to simultaneously reduce air pollution and climate change with benefits for food security.

Format of the session:

90 minutes session

Draft Agenda

Moderation: Martial Bernoux, FAO

14:00 - 14:10 Key Note Introduction, CCAC´s work on enhancing agricultural ambition in NDCs (Dan McDougall, CCAC Secretariat)

14:00 - 14:20 Indonesia´s approach to updating its NDCs: Key lessons learned (Dr. Agusto Susanto, Director Indonesian Centre for Animal Research and Development, Ministry of Agriculture)

14:20 - 14:30 Kenya´s enhanced NDCs for the agriculture sector: Opportunities and Challenges (Bernard Kimoro, State Department of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries and Cooperatives)

14:30 - 14:40 Costa Rica on the inclusion of agricultural short-lived climate pollutant measures in their NDCs and next steps (Mauricio Chacon, Head of Livestock, Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock)

14:40 - 14:50 China´s experience on developing low carbon agriculture by enhancing GHG mitigation through manure management in China (Dong Hongmin, Institute of Environment and Sustainable Development in Agriculture, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences)

14:50 - 15:00 Opportunities for increased ambition in the agriculture sector (Rebecca Carter, World Resources Institute (WRI) & Laurel Pegorsch (Oxfam)

15:00 - 15:20 Q & A Session - Discussion with panelists, based on inputs from the audience and the moderator

15:20 - 15:30 Conclusion - Wrap-up and key messages

Related resources

Event contact

Catalina Etcheverry,
Agriculture & Bricks Initiative Coordinator
Catalina.Etcheverry [at] un.org

Initiatives

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