Climate Week Gives Impetus to Ongoing Efforts to Curb Growing Threats

September 24, 2020

During this year’s observation of Climate Week, international leaders from around the world from business, government and civil society are collaborating virtually with the UN General Assembly to showcase global climate action.

Among the developments celebrated through Climate Week events is the growth of RE-100, an alliance that now brings together more than 260 of the world’s most influential companies committed to 100-percent renewable power in more than 140 markets worldwide.

In the spirit of Climate Week, SfL is recognizing contributions by ag-related interests, including the Soil Health Institute, Cargill and the Walmart Foundation. The three groups are sharing their overall climate strategies with other food and beverage company representatives, policymakers, conservationists and others – work they are conducting to address gaps in policy that, once filled, will allow the U.S. agricultural sector to achieve net-zero carbon emissions.

On another front, Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, released this week a report – Climate Action in U.S. Agriculture: A Compendium of Field to Market Member Climate Commitments – that celebrates leadership and momentum on climate action in the ag sector. It also underscores how greater collective action is needed to respond to unprecedented challenges from climate related impacts. The report synthesizes public climate goals made by more than 85 Field to Market member organizations and unveils a shared vision from nine leading conservation organizations that defines key principles of meaningful climate action to match the scale and pace required by science.

The report came in conjunction with Field to Market’s sponsorship of a roundtable discussion that brought together farmers, policy leaders, scientists, food executives and conservation experts to explore innovative examples of how the food and agriculture value chain is scaling the adoption of climate smart agriculture, while also examining the serious consequences of failing to meet our collective goals set to address the climate crisis. One of the key messages coming out of this event was the need for farmers to be at the center of all climate discussions – a guiding principle long advocated by SfL and the North America Climate Smart Agriculture Alliance.

Kellogg’s, the multi-national food manufacturing giant, continues its long-standing efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions and energy use, and actively acknowledging that food insecurity and livelihood vulnerability are exacerbated by climate change. Generous funding from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation enabled work by an SfL-supported work group in Ohio that produced a landmark action plan that offered innovative solutions to challenges confronting the state’s farmers over the next several decades.

On the financial front, Indigo Ag launched this year The Terraton Initiative, an effort to sequester in soils 1 trillion tons of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The plan aims to eventually pay farmers in the program $15 to $20 per ton of carbon that they sequester using practices like no-till and cover crops, with payments tallying an estimated $30 to $60 per acre. Other platforms that Bayer Crop Science and Nori are developing similar programs

Climate Week events give prominence to the work that has yet to be done to curb the growing crisis. They should also serve as a reminder that there is no “silver bullet” solution for enhancing the resilience of agriculture: policymakers must embrace a systems approach that recognizes the tremendous diversity of agricultural landscapes and ecosystems, enabling producers to utilize the systems and practices that best support their farming operations. With science-based decision-making, in conjunction with farmer and indigenous innovation, climate smart technologies and practices can support the attainment of multiple sustainable development goals. In doing so, agriculture must and will be revalued and rewarded for the land based global solutions well managed farms, ranches and forests provide.

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