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DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Funding for a joint effort by the United States and United Arab Emirates to advance climate-friendly farming around the world has grown to more than $17 billion, the countries announced on Friday, December 8, at the COP28 climate summit in Dubai.
The Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) was launched in 2021 at COP26 in Glasgow and its funding comes from governments, companies, and nongovernment organizations.
Nearly 80 projects have been announced under the AIM for Climate initiative since 2021, with goals to expand agricultural research, implement sustainable farming practices, and reduce methane emissions.
“I think it’s made people think about food and agriculture in a much different way,” US Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack told Reuters on the sidelines of the conference.
“And I think it’s reflected, frankly, in the fact that this COP…has actually elevated food [and] agriculture to the point where it’s an integral part of COP meetings. That has not been the case for the previous 27.”
Funding for the effort has grown from $13 billion in May, when the US and UAE co-hosted an AIM for Climate summit in Washington, and from $8 billion at COP27.
The new total includes $12 billion from governments and $5 billion from nongovernment parties such as companies and humanitarian organizations, said an AIM for Climate spokesperson.
The 27 new projects announced at COP28 range in size from $500 million to $150,000.
Partners in one of the largest initiatives, aimed at expanding regenerative agriculture, include Bunge, Google, The Nature Conservancy, and the Brazilian state of Para. Regenerative agriculture generally refers to practices like reduced tillage of cropland and lower pesticide use.
For the first time, agriculture is a major focus at this year’s climate summit, with a full day on Sunday, December 10, dedicated to food and farming topics.
“We understand that we need to speed up innovations…to be able to transform agriculture food systems to more sustainable systems,” UAE Minister for Climate and the Environment Mariam Almheiri told Reuters.
Advocacy groups want the nations and companies in attendance to pledge to tackle agricultural methane emissions in particular, most of which is from livestock production. – Rappler.com