Featured Blog Post: Adam Bergman
Managing Director, Clean Energy Transition Group & Global Head of AgTech Investment, Citi
With more consumers, corporations, investors, and political leaders focusing on the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and environmental damage caused by agriculture, momentum is growing towards building a more sustainable food system. To understand the issues with current food production methods and opportunities to use technology and innovations to solve these challenges, I recommend reading the report published by my Citi colleague, Liz Curmi, on Food and Climate Change: Creating Sustainable Food Systems for a Net Zero Future.
Although industrial agriculture provided some major benefits, ensuring most of the world has had adequate amounts of food and generated some significant innovations around seed breeding, the negative environmental and health impacts cannot be overstated. Not only has it caused long lasting damage to soil, but runoff from the overuse of fertilizers, crop chemicals and pesticides has polluted ground water, rivers, lakes, streams and oceans. Additionally, industrial agriculture skewed production towards inexpensive and empty calories, leading to a significant increase in obesity and other health issues around the world. As Liz outlines, not only is the food system one of the largest contributors of GHG emissions, but ironically, climate change will have a detrimental impact on food production in many regions due to changing weather patterns and once in a generation climate events that are happening every few years. Furthermore, even if all non-food-system GHG emissions were immediately stopped and reached net zero, emissions from the global food system alone, under a business-as-usual scenario, would likely exceed the 1.5°C temperature limit, according to Liz.
It is a paradox that the agriculture sector is not only one of the major issues causing climate change, but, with the introduction of new technologies, including alternative proteins, biotechnology, carbon sequestration, digital & precision agriculture, indoor farming, and food waste mitigation, it will be a key part of the solution.