UAE – The United States and the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday used COP26 climate talks to launch efforts to channel funding into making agriculture resilient to climate change, as well as to cut its emissions.
The farming industry, a major part of the US economy, is already battling the effects of climate change, including unpredictable weather and increased drought and flooding.
The United Arab Emirates, which has offered to host climate talks in 2023, has grown rich from its oil revenues, but has also developed technology to improve food yields from its largely desert territory.
The two countries launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) at the UN talks under way in Glasgow, Scotland, that are seen as critical to averting the most disastrous impacts of climate change.
Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change, said: “AIM for Climate is focusing on a sector that has been previously overlooked in terms of the opportunities it offers for global climate action.”
“This initiative demonstrates the UAE’s holistic and inclusive approach to climate action, which characterizes our offer to host COP28,” he added.
Jaber stated that the UAE “has already driven change in the energy sector through green innovation and growth, investing more than $17 billion in clean energy around the world. AIM for Climate is a smart extension of that investment strategy, and the UAE is pleased to pledge $1 billion as part of the initiative.”
Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry said, “The US is proud to be launching the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate initiative alongside the UAE and over 80 partners across the globe.”
“Investment in climate-smart agriculture innovation is critical to addressing the climate crisis. Innovation can reduce emissions, feed the world’s growing population, and help farmers and ranchers mitigate and adapt to climate change,” he added.
AIM so far has the backing of more than 30 countries and 40 NGOs.
The participating governments, which span Europe, Asia and Africa, have agreed to increase public and private investment in “climate-smart agriculture” in their countries, with commitments so far, almost entirely from governments, amounting to $4 billion collectively.
As well as being on the frontline of severe weather, farming is responsible for nearly a quarter of all climate warming emissions, the AIM for Climate’s statement said.
The available funds, which are controlled by the individual governments, will be used to drive research into reducing agricultural emissions and promoting biodiversity, as well as improving farms’ climate resilience.