The announcement this week that the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) initiative is expanding, now totaling 40 nations, marks the widening impact of global action and investment in climate-smart agriculture (CSA) and food systems. Partners in the AIM for Climate initiative are taking an ambitious path towards addressing the challenges of global climate change and hunger.
The growth of the five-year initiative, marked at a ministerial meeting in Dubai Monday comes only a couple of months after its official launch of AIM for Climate at global climate talks in Glasgow. Partners in the initiative say they have doubled their investment goal from the amount first set in Glasgow. Now set at $8 billion by the next UN Climate Change conference (COP27) in Egypt this coming November, the participating nations say they will pursue increased investment from public- and private-sector partners for CSA initiatives.
The farmer-leaders of SfL are enthusiastic about this initiative, given its pursuit of policies and projects that SfL has long called for to enable climate smart agricultural practices. Furthermore, AIM for Climate, which was introduced by the United States and the United Arab Emirates at COP26, falls within the spirit of the SfL Guiding Principles that calls for mobilizing innovation to optimize CSA efforts.
AIM for Climate reinforces SfL’s promotion and acceleration of CSA systems and practices such as those included in the 4R Solutions project, which is funded by Global Affairs Canada, is being implemented in partnership with Fertilizer Canada, the Co-operative Development Foundation of Canada and the African Plant Nutrition Institute. Using the “Right source of nutrients, at the Right rate, applied at the Right time, and in the Right place,” the 4Rs have the potential to address many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), such as the of end of poverty, the eradication of global hunger, the assurance of clean water, and the curbing of climate change.
SfL promotes precision agriculture as a primary building block of CSA. Precision ag systems include the exact application of specific inputs at variable rates to optimize economic efficiency and reduce waste. It makes precise use of geospatial data to analyze fluctuations in soil nutrients, water availability, slope, sun exposure and other variable features of land parcels. It gives growers the capacity to control and monitor improvements in their soil conditions and addresses them only as needed, all while helping retain carbon in the soil.
Another facet of AIM for Climate promoted by SfL members is the development of new crop varieties, encouraging the process of breeding crops to gain climatic resilience, as well as improved nutritional value, higher yields, water and nutrient use efficiency, and pest and disease resistance.
The reduction of methane emissions, particularly from livestock operations, is another important goal of CSA and AIM for Climate long promoted by SfL. Anaerobic technology, particularly on livestock operations, is among the tools available to meet the challenge of reducing a greenhouse gas estimated to be 25 times more intense than carbon and has a has half-life that extends a century or longer. The methane captured from animal agriculture operations can be converted to renewable natural gas that can be used for power and heat. Also, work is well underway in the development of dietary supplements that can help reduce methane emissions emanating from livestock operations.
Through 25x’25, SfL has long advocated the wider use of renewable fuels like ethanol and biodiesel. Derived primarily from corn and soybeans, respectively, they are important to the CSA pillar of avoiding emissions, serving as low-carbon fuels that can be mixed with carbon-based petroleum like gasoline and diesel fuel. The promotion of biofuels also helps boost incomes in rural communities that have long been financially disadvantaged when compared to urban areas.
In the spring of 2023, the United States will host the next ministerial summit, welcoming all AIM for Climate partners to Washington, to review its progress and chart out the important work ahead. SfL, which is happy to number itself among proponents of the AIM-for-Climate initiative, along with scores of agricultural, business, academic and civic organizations, stands ready to use the opportunity to share information with those who are developing policies and programs under the AIM project. We urge our many partners to reach out to policy makers, calling on them to take any steps available to increase and accelerate investment in and support for innovation, technology and other advances in climate-smart agriculture systems and practices.