$260Bn Required Annually To Curb Agrifood Greenhouse Emissions – W/Bank

5 Min Read

The World Bank has called for action across the global geopolitical zones in order to achieve net zero gas emissions through a comprehensive approach to reducing emissions in food systems, including in fertilizers and energy, crop and livestock production, and packaging and distribution across the value chain from farm to table.

The Breton Woods institution’s latest report titled ‘Recipe for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood’ indicated that payoffs for investing in cutting agrifood emissions were much bigger than the costs.

To achieve the zero gas emissions target, the bank estimated that $260 billion would be needed yearly as investments to cut in half agrifood emissions by 2030 and to reach net zero emissions by 2050.

It noted that twice as much money was being spent yearly on agricultural subsidies, many of which harm the environment, stressing that while cutting wasteful subsidies can finance some of this investment, additional financing is essential to get to net zero level.

According to the report’s findings, making these investments will lead to more than $4 trillion in benefits, from improvements in human health, food and nutrition security, better quality jobs and profits for farmers, to more carbon retained in forests and soils.

The World Bank noted that the global agrifood system offered a huge opportunity to cut almost a third of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions through affordable and readily available actions, as well as ensuring food security for a growing population.

The report outlines actions that every country can take. These will make food supplies more secure, help the food system better withstand climate change, and protect vulnerable people during this transition.

Commenting on the report’s findings, World Bank Senior Managing Director, Axel van Trotsenburg, said: “While the food on your table may taste good, it is also a hefty slice of the climate change emissions pie.

“The good news is that the global food system can heal the planet –making soils, ecosystems, and people healthier, while keeping carbon in the ground. This is within reach in our lifetimes, but countries must act now: simply changing how middle-income countries use land, such as forests and ecosystems, for food production can cut agrifood emissions by a third by 2030”, the banker added.

The report notes that the agrifood system is a huge, untapped source of low-cost climate change action. Unlike other sectors, it can have an outsized impact on climate change by reducing emissions and drawing carbon naturally from the atmosphere.

Recognizing that countries will meet their climate goals in different ways, the report identifies a menu of solutions to choose from.

The report also reflected that that high-income countries can lead the way by giving more support to low- and middle-income countries so they can adopt low-emission farming methods and technologies, including technical assistance for forest conservation programs that generate high-integrity carbon credits.

Similarly, the bank stated that high-income countries can also shift subsidies away from high-emitting food sources to reveal their full price and help make low-emission food options cheaper in comparison.

In addition, the report indicated also that middle-income countries have an outsized role to play by curbing up to three-quarters of global agrifood emissions through greener practices such as reducing emissions from livestock and rice, investing in healthy soils, and cutting food loss and waste and using land more efficiently.

The report findings also showed that sustainable land use in middle-income countries would help one-third of the world’s opportunities to reduce agrifood emissions

The World Bank maintained that low-income countries can chart a different way forward by avoiding the mistakes made by richer countries and seizing climate-smart opportunities for greener and more competitive economies.

This is even as the bank estimated that preserving and restoring forests would promote sustainable economic development in low-income countries, based on the fact that more than half of their agrifood emissions come from clearing forests to produce food.

Share This Article