Major food shifts needed to keep climate goals on track

Critical shifts in the way we produce and consume food are needed to achieve global food security and limit warming to 1.5°C.

That’s according to a new report by the World Resources Institute (WRI) which warned that significantly more action across all industry sectors is needed this decade to keep the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.

The state of climate action 2022 report, produced by WRI’s Systems Change Lab, assessed 40 indicators across six industry sectors, including food and agriculture, which collectively account for around 85% of global GHG emissions. It found that none are on track to achieve climate targets required by 2030.

Direct GHG emissions from agricultural production, including from cropland and pastures, remain a significant, still-growing contributor to global GHG emissions increasing by an annual average of 0.6% since 2000.

Other food and agriculture indicators are either off track or well off track, according to the analysis. Action required before 2030 to put food and agriculture back on track includes shifting to low-carbon agricultural practices; sustainably increasing crop yields and ruminant meat productivity; dramatically lowering food loss and waste; and shifting to more sustainable diets, namely by reducing ruminant meat intake in high-consuming regions.

Despite slow progress overall, the report did highlight some encouraging signs including record-breaking growth in uptake of zero-carbon power sources like solar and wind power, and an accelerated transition to electric vehicles.

While many countries, cities, regions, companies and financial institutions have adopted more ambitious commitments to fight the climate crisis, significantly more action across all sectors is needed this decade to keep the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach, according to the analysis.

“The state of climate action 2022 is an urgent wake up call for decision-makers to commit to real transformation across every aspect of our economy,” said Ani Dasgupta, president and CEO of the World Resources Institute.

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