Implementing a just transition to net zero: Driving climate action through extension system reforms

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This post is part of a series examining key issues involving climate and agrifood systems tied to the 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai (November 30-December 12). To learn more about IFPRI’s engagement at the Conference, visit our COP28 Spotlight page

Urgent action is needed in the food and agriculture sectors to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goals, as food systems contribute one third of total global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Reaching net zero GHG emissions, or carbon neutrality, by 2050 requires food systems to significantly reduce their carbon footprints. However, a major challenge lies in ensuring a just transition to net zero—a transition that wouldn’t compromise food security for vulnerable groups, particularly in the global south, where most farms are small-scale.

Efforts to reduce GHG emissions often emphasize the need for major shifts in agricultural technology and practices, but these can be costly (even if subsidized by governments) and disruptive to smallholders.

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