President Joe Biden on Wednesday emphasised the crucial role agriculture plays in tackling the challenges of the global climate crisis at a UAE-US farm climate summit.
In a recorded address to the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate summit, or Aim for Climate, in Washington, Mr Biden spoke about the success of the UAE-US initiative, which this week announced $13 billion in funding from global governments and the private sector.
“Agricultural innovations have successfully safeguarded and enhanced the lives of billions worldwide,” Mr Biden said.
“By working together, we can further strengthen global food supplies, boost farmers' incomes and protect our planet for future generations who rely on our actions today.”
Aim for Climate, which was launched in 2021, seeks to unite nations to cut agricultural emissions, which account for about 10 per cent to 12 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions from sources such as livestock manure, machinery and fertiliser application, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
About $10 billion of the $13 billion investment has come from governments. The rest is from parties funding initiatives to support smallholder farmers, emerging technology and methane reduction, a US Department of Agriculture representative said.
The initiative's partnerships have expanded to include more than 500 governmental and non-governmental organisations worldwide.
In his address, US climate envoy John Kerry said AIM for Climate was “leading the way on climate-smart agriculture innovation”, and helping to deliver on mitigation, adaptation and agricultural productivity priorities.
“I'm proud that Aim for Climate partners have already exceeded the $10 billion investment commitment goal set last year at Cop27 and know that the collaborations taking place at the AIM for Climate Summit will help catalyse an even greater impact on the road to Cop28 in Dubai and beyond,” he said.
Speaking at the summit, Mr Kerry said cutting greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural production was essential to the global fight against climate change, Reuters reported.
“We can’t get to net zero, we don’t get this job done unless agriculture is front and centre as part of the solution,” Mr Kerry said.
He said that without cutting agricultural emissions, the world may not reach the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
“A 2°C future could result in another 600 million people not getting enough to eat. You can’t continue to warm the planet while also expecting to feed it,” he said.
More than 190 countries are part of the legally binding Paris Agreement, a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting the Earth's warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
How countries are putting in place measures to meet their targets under the accord and what more needs to be done will be discussed at Cop28 in what is known as a “global stock-take”.
Mariam Al Mheiri, Minister of Climate Change and Environment and Minister of State for Food Security, said the UAE was keen to maintain momentum ahead of Cop28, which will be held in Dubai later this year, by leading discussions on developing global agricultural systems.
“The transformation of food systems will be one of the main topics on the agenda of the global conference, as part of the intensified efforts to modernise our global food systems and enhance their responsiveness to climate challenges, food security, and nutritional concerns worldwide,” she said.
“As Cop28 approaches, we reaffirm our commitment to addressing climate change and food security issues. By working together, we can discover innovative solutions to our challenges and create a more sustainable and equitable future for all.”
Cop28 will take place from November 30 until December 12, 2023, at Expo City Dubai.