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publicationMay 6, 2024

Recipe for a Livable Planet: Achieving Net Zero Emissions in the Agrifood System

Cover image of Recipe for a Livable Planet report

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Recipe for a Livable Planet is the first comprehensive global roadmap for mitigating the agrifood system’s contributions to climate change. It shows how the agriculture system that produces the world’s food can cut greenhouse gas emissions while continuing to feed the world.

  • Agrifood is a bigger contributor to climate change than many think. It generates almost a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, averaging around 16 gigatons annually. This is about one-sixth more than all of the world’s heat and electricity emissions.
  • The agrifood system is a huge, untapped source of low-cost climate change action. Unlike other sectors, it can have an outsized impact on climate change by drawing carbon from the atmosphere through ecosystems and soils.
  • The payoffs for investing in cutting agrifood emissions are estimated to be much bigger than the costs. Annual investments will need to increase by 18 times to $260 billion a year to halve current agrifood emissions by 2030 and put the world on-track for net-zero emissions by 2050. Previous estimates show that the benefits in health, economic, and environmental terms could be as much as $4.3 trillion in 2030, a 16 to 1 return on investment costs.
  • Every country can harness priority opportunities to achieve net zero agrifood emissions while advancing development. Different countries have different pathways for doing so.
    • High-income countries can do more to promote renewable energy in the agrifood sector and shift to more sustainable diets. With their resources, high-income countries can provide more support to low- and middle-income countries adopt low-emission agrifood practices.
    • Middle-income countries are where three quarters of existing opportunities to reduce emissions in a cost-effective way. These countries can reduce emissions from livestock and rice, invest in healthy soils, and by cutting food loss and waste.
    • Low-income countries should focus on green growth. Over half of the agrifood emissions in low-income countries come from converting forests to croplands or pastures. Preserving and restoring forests can be a cost-effective way to reduce emissions and promote sustainable economic development.
  • Actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the agrifood system will also have three key benefits: they will make food supplies more secure, help our food system better withstand climate change, and ensure that vulnerable people are not harmed by this transition.


Recipe for a livable planet
VIDEO May 21, 2024

Recipe for a Livable Planet