$1.3 trillion cost of transforming food systems under climate change

MARCH 16, 2022 | New report: Transforming food systems so they survive and thrive under climate change demands USD 1.3 trillion in investment every year for the next three decades.

According to a new report to be published today by the Netherlands-based ‘think-and-do-tank’ Clim-Eat and The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), transforming food systems so they survive and thrive under climate change demands USD 1.3 trillion in investment every year until 2050.

The report – available here – will be launched at an affiliate session of the World Economic Forum event Bold Actions for Food.

In the report, the authors outline how this investment is built upon the foundations of four ‘action areas’ set out in the landmark 2020 report Actions to Transform Food Systems Under Climate Change:

(i) Rerouting farming and rural livelihoods to new trajectories
(ii) De-risking livelihoods, farms and value chains
(iii) Reducing emissions through diets and value chains
(iv) Realigning policies, finance and support to social movements and innovation

The transformation investment the new report calls for could necessitate anywhere between a 10- to 20-fold increase in current levels of investment in sustainable climate-smart agriculture, based on a number of existing estimates.

The report argues that transformation also necessitates a complete reimagination of where agriculture and food systems investments should focus, so that we’re not simply ‘plugging gaps’ in current investment.

The report identifies that the benefits of transformative investment in food systems far outweighs the cost of inaction – the hidden environmental, social and economic costs of our current food system are estimated to be valued at $20tn a year.

Just over half of all the transformative investments identified in the report should be devoted to halting the conversion of land use for agriculture – 250 million hectares of forest (roughly equivalent to all the agricultural land available in Brazil) and 400 million hectares of peatland (equivalent to the agricultural land of Australia).

  • The report authors:
    Bruce Campbell – Chief Innovation Strategist (Clim-Eat)
  • Ana Maria Loboguerrero – Research Director for Climate Action (The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture)
  • Philip Thornton – Adviser (Clim-Eat)
  • Yuling Chang – Consultant (Clim-Eat)

For more information or to speak to the authors, please contact Rhys [rhys@moonshotcomms.org]

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