Exclusive-Global investors write to U.N. to urge global plan on farming emissions -Breaking
Gloria Dickie & Simon Jessop
LONDON, (Reuters) – Investors with $14 trillion in wealth have urged United Nations leaders to develop a global strategy to ensure that the agricultural sector is sustainable and to reduce one of the largest sources of climate-damaging greenhouse gases. This was revealed by Reuters.
Global greenhouse gas emissions are about one third due to food production. This is what is threatening 86% of world’s endangered species. Amazon rain forest losses can be blamed for three quarters of Amazon’s (NASDAQ):).
Climate scientists warned in April that the world’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7°F) above the pre-industrial average by mid-century could not be met without marked changes in land use.
FAIRR Initiative’s study of G20 countries last year found that most had not set a goal to lower agricultural emissions.
Qu Dongyu was the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization’s director general. The letter, which was coordinated by FAIRR and the investor network FAIRR said that the agency is best placed to create a roadmap to improve planning.
“To keep the 1.5C goal within reach, the global food system urgently requires a gold-standard roadmap that reduces emissions whilst protecting the health and livelihoods of people across the globe,” said Guenther Thallinger, chair of the U.N.-convened Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance (NZAOA), one of the signatories of the letter.
“We urge the FAO to act on the science and work towards delivering this landmark road-map.”
Along with the NZAOA (whose members include Allianz (ETR) and Swiss Re, 33 other investors, including U.S. Asset Manager Capital Group and Britain’s, also signed. Aviva (LON:) Investors.
The call for action was also backed by Christiana Figueres, former executive secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and one of the architects of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate.
FOCUS ON GREEN REVOLUTION’
A similar report was launched last year by International Energy Agency for the sector. Investors stated that it had been a success and could prove to be a key tool in helping investors and other stakeholders make changes faster.
The FAO was considered by investors to be the most qualified U.N. agency for such work. But Olivier De Schutter (co-chair of International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems), said that it has historically sent a “mixed message” about climate change and the impact of agriculture.
Although it promoted heavy machinery, large scale irrigation and chemical fertilizers to feed the world’s population, which significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions substantially, it also advocated low-input solutions that decrease dependence on fossil fuels.
“The FAO was far from consistent and it remains a big gap between their promise to support agroecology as well as the fact that they give advice to developing countries and provide project support,” he stated. My hope is that these investors can make the FAO rethink their policies.
FAO has not responded to our request for comment.
As well as setting clear guidance for companies and other stakeholders as to the volume of emissions that must be mitigated to limit warming to 1.5°C, the letter drew special attention to the need for a pathway to cut methane emissions.
Nearly one third of methane emissions worldwide linked to human activities are caused by livestock. This includes manure from cattle, burps from cows, and cultivation of feed crops.
The two-decades that methane remains in the atmosphere is compared to the hundreds of years it takes carbon dioxide for its removal. But a single methane mole traps more heat.