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OVER 130 COUNTRIES AGREE TO EMBED FOOD, AGRICULTURE IN CLIMATE PLANS…

Over 130 countries agreed on Friday to prioritize food and agriculture in their national climate plans during the U.N. Climate Change Conference – COP28 in Dubai in a move cheered by observers despite concerns over its silence on the role of fossil fuels.

Food systems are estimated to be responsible for roughly a third of human-made greenhouse gases but are increasingly threatened by global warming and biodiversity loss.

A total of 134 countries that produce 70% of the food eaten worldwide signed the declaration, summit hosts the United Arab Emirates (UAE) said.

“There is no path to achieving the goals of the Paris climate agreement and keeping 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) within reach that does not urgently address the interactions between food systems, agriculture and climate,” the UAE’s climate change minister Mariam Almheiri said.

DECEMBER 1: World Heads of State pose for a group photo at Al Wasl during the UN Climate Change Conference COP28 at Expo City Dubai on December 1, 2023, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by COP28 / Mahmoud Khaled)

The declaration said countries will strengthen efforts to integrate food systems into their emissions-cutting plans.

Nations would also pursue efforts to support farmers and other vulnerable food producers, including through increased funding, more infrastructure and developing early warning systems, it added.

Mariam Almheiri

It also emphasized the importance of restoring land, changing away from greenhouse-gas-emitting agricultural practices and reducing food loss.

The United States, European Union, China and Brazil were among the countries to sign the declaration.

The 134 nations are home to 5.7 billion people and represent over three-quarters of all greenhouse gas emissions from the global food system – or 25% of total emissions worldwide, the COP28 statement said.

‘Glaring omission’

The U.S. think-tank World Resources Institute praised the announcement.

Ani Dasgupta

“This declaration is the moment when food truly comes of age in the climate process, sending a powerful signal to the nations of the world that we can only keep the 1.5 Celsius degree a goal in sight if we act fast,” said the group’s CEO Ani Dasgupta.

However, Patty Fong, of the Global Alliance for the Future of Food, said the declaration not directly referencing fossil fuels was a “glaring omission”.

“The declaration doesn’t set out how governments will tackle food emissions and makes no reference to fossil fuels, despite food systems accounting for at least 15% of fossil fuels burned each year – equivalent to the emissions of all EU countries and Russia combined,” she said.

Patty Fong

Sustainability group IPES-Food also criticized what it said was vague language and missing concrete actions or targets.

There was “no commitment to shift to healthy, sustainable, diets nor reducing overconsumption of industrially produced meat,” the group said.

BY AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE – AFP…

About İsmail Uğural

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