James Fell, Liangyue Cao, Kevin Burns & Jared Greenville
Agriculture puts food on tables around the world. It also contributes to global emissions.
To meet the global commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential to seek all avenues for reduction.
Agriculture and related land use accounts for around 12% of global emissions. Many countries provide agricultural support in order to boost rural incomes and domestic food production.
Global agrifood production remains heavily subsidised and protected in many parts of the world, implying that avoidable emissions are subsidised by taxpayers around the world.
A reduction in global agrifood subsidies, tariffs and quotas would lead to a recalibration of agrifood production, with implications for emissions.
Could the world cut emissions from agrifood production, improve food security and raise global economic growth?
- Agriculture is intertwined with multiple objectives – emissions reduction, food security, economic development.
- Agricultural emissions are rising, and total global support to agriculture is also rising.
- Comprehensive reform of global agricultural support (domestic subsidies and trade barriers) satisfies these multiple objectives. Partial reform increases emissions (when only domestic support is removed) or harms food security and reduces economic growth in middle/low-income regions (when only tariffs and quotas are removed).
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