New report shows only 3% climate finance going to food systems, despite causing 1/3 of emissions
Food production, processing, distribution, consumption, and waste account for nearly a third of total global greenhouse gas emissions, but food systems receive just $9.3 billion (3%) of public climate finance annually, according to new analysis from the Global Alliance for the Future of Food.
Fourteen major philanthropic funders, including The Rockefeller Foundation and Ikea Foundation, have written to the Egyptian COP27 President Sameh Shoukry urging him to recognize the importance of food systems and use the meeting to ensure food systems get the attention and funding needed.
“Our research reveals a huge gap between countries’ stated levels of climate ambition and their plans to tackle climate impacts from food,” said Patty Fong, Climate Program Director at the Global Alliance for the Future of Food. “Food systems transformation is critical to ensure food security, improve health, protect biodiversity, and prevent a climate catastrophe. Governments at COP27 must raise their ambition on food and farming, including by boosting finance available to lower-income countries.”
The report analyzed UNFCCC data on current climate plans, known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and found over 70% of countries are missing detail on food systems reform. This means low and middle-income countries are not mobilising climate finance, and all countries are missing the opportunity to dramatically reduce their emissions and adapt to climate change. Governments continue to underestimate and underfund food systems transformation as a climate solution: developing countries requested only $14 billion in climate finance for food systems last year, compared to $64 billion for energy and transport measures.
The report also highlights:
- Even if all other emissions were stopped immediately, global food-related emissions alone would cause us to overshoot the 1.5°C target
- Transitioning to more sustainable food systems could reduce global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 10.3 Gt CO2eq a year by 2050. This is equivalent to 20% of emission reductions needed to meet the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C
- An estimated $300-350 billion each year is needed annually to make food systems sustainable and climate resilient. This is less than the $611 billion spent annually on farming subsidies, 86% ($528bn) of which has potentially destructive impacts on climate, biodiversity and health.
- The amount of harmful public finance is 57 times greater than climate finance going to food systems.
- Public climate finance for food systems has quadrupled over the last 5 years, but starts from a low base. This trend must continue to meet climate goals.
The report recommends that countries put far greater attention on food systems in their NDCs. Low-income countries in particular should set out transition plans that can then be used to mobilise international climate finance, for both mitigation and adaptation purposes. High-income countries should provide more climate finance for food systems, and make their domestic food and agriculture policies consistent with their climate goals.
Rockefeller quote: “Governments have recognized the need to shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy. But if we are to limit catastrophic climate change, we need the same efforts and attention on food systems. This means moving away from extractive, industrialized models and instead fund regenerative, sustainable agriculture. Our ability to keep warming below the most dangerous levels relies on it.”
ACF quote: “We are already feeling the terrible impacts of climate change on our food supply, and we need urgent action to tackle it. Rich countries must step up and provide financing for this transformation, especially for those on the frontlines of the climate crisis.”
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About Global Alliance for the Future of Food
The Global Alliance for the Future of Food is a strategic alliance of philanthropic foundations working together and with others to transform global food systems now and for future generations. We believe in the urgency of transforming global food systems, and in the power of working together and with others to effect positive change. Food systems reform requires new and better solutions at all scales through a systems-level approach and deep collaboration among philanthropy, researchers, grassroots movements, the private sector, farmers and food systems workers, Indigenous Peoples, government, and policymakers. www.futureoffood.org
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