The second edition of the annual OpenAg Symposium will carry forward the conversation on the future of food and agriculture in a changing climate by exploring the role of agriculture as a decarbonisation strategy in the path to net zero emissions.
Agriculture has a vital role to play in global efforts to tackle climate change. Close to a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions come from the agriculture sector, in the form of carbon dioxide from tillage and nitrous oxide from fertilization of agricultural soils, methane from livestock and manure, and all three gases from land use change for food production. At the climate conference COP26 in Glasgow, leaders of 141 countries pledged to incentivise sustainable agriculture and promote sustainable land use transitions, while empowering communities and recognising the rights of indigenous people and local communities – thus demonstrating the importance of the sector in achieving the 1.5 degrees Celsius target while also keeping the socio-economic priorities of vulnerable communities in mind.
At the same time, agricultural land can also act as a “carbon sink”. With increasingly innovative and climate-smart solutions available, agriculture has massive potential in global decarbonisation strategies as a pathway to overall Net Zero emissions. As both a source of and a solution to global emissions, it is crucial to find ways to collaborate and support agriculture’s transition towards positive climate action, reaching Net Zero, and achieving a more sustainable and equitable future. This support could be in many forms: science and innovation around improved carbon sequestering practices; regulation to enable the growth of carbon markets; financial support to incentivise growers to implement the necessary changes; media coverage to make consumers aware that their consumption patterns can support improved agricultural practices.
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