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Agriculture is a major part of the climate problem, but it can be part of the climate solution, too
November 28, 2017
A growing global population and changing diets are driving up the demand for food. Production is struggling to keep up as crop yields level off in many parts of the world, ocean health declines, and natural resources—including soils, water and biodiversity—are stretched dangerously thin. One in nine people suffers from chronic hunger and 12.9 percent of the population in developing countries is undernourished. The food security challenge will only become more difficult, as the world will need to produce about 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an estimated 9 billion people.
The challenge is intensified by agriculture’s extreme vulnerability to climate change. Climate change’s negative impacts are already being felt, in the form of reduced yields and more frequent extreme weather events, affecting crops and livestock alike. Substantial investments in adaptation will be required to maintain current yields and to achieve the required production increases.
Agriculture is also a major part of the climate problem. It currently generates 19–29% of total GHG emissions. Without action, that percentage could rise substantially as other sectors reduce their emissions.