Achieving a 1.5°c future requires a food systems approach

We won’t have a shot at achieving a 1.5°C target of the Paris Agreement if we don’t rapidly reduce emissions from food systems. Today, emissions from the food systems account for a third of global emissions. Even if we managed to stop all other (non-food-system-related) emissions immediately and keep them to net zero through 2100, emissions from the global food system alone could exceed the remaining carbon budget in the next 40 years to keep warming to no more than 1.5°C.

This new policy paper by Climate Focus together with WWF, UN Nutrition, EAT, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, and Biovision lays out key recommendations for policymakers to take a food systems approach to policymaking to realize the potential of food systems to help mitigate and adapt to climate change. It specifically calls to:

  1. Include all parts of food system in Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) by examining food systems as a whole, from production to consumption, working together with relevant stakeholders across food systems to prepare and take action on NDCs, including addressing consumption-based emissions and food loss and waste, which are not considered at the moment.
  2. Include a food systems approach to agriculture and food security in the new outcome for the Koronivia Joint Work on Agriculture (KJWA). The KJWA workshops have revealed that there is an opportunity to include food loss and waste and sustainable food consumption as thematic areas in the KJWA outcomes to encourage action in these areas of food systems.
  3. Synthesize approaches taken under different United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) mechanisms to align food system priorities. The Subsidiary Bodies could reinforce their work on information and knowledge sharing, with a focus on adopting a broader food system perspective. This would send a positive signal for action to Constituted Bodies and financial entities to work on these topics.