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FAO's work on Climate Change: Energy, Agriculture and Climate Change

Towards energy-smart agriculture











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    Book (stand-alone)
    Energy-Smart Food at FAO: An Overview 2012
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    This paper presents FAOs work on energy in relation to specific components of the agrifood chain. It complements two recent publications, Energy-Smart Food for People and Climate Issues Paper and the policy brief, Making the Case for Energy-Smart Food. These publications presented the findings of a 2011 study commissioned by FAO that examined the linkages between energy and agrifood systems and their implications for food security and climate. The study looked at energy uses along the entire agr ifood chain from field to plate and the potential of agrifood systems to produce energy. Findings confirmed that agrifood systems use a large share of the global energy supply, rely heavily on fossil fuels to meet production targets and contribute to greenhouse gas emissions. The study concluded that agrifood systems will have to become ?energy-smart? to meet future food and energy challenges, and recommended establishing a major long-term multi-partner programme on energy-smart food systems bas ed on three pillars (i) improving energy efficiency in agrifood systems, (ii) increasing the use of renewable energy in these systems and (iii) improving access to modern energy services through integrated food and energy production.
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    Opportunities for Agri-Food Chains to become Energy-Smart 2015
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    The world’s agri-food supply chains are being challenged. For several decades, the production, processing and distribution of food have been highly dependent on fossil fuel inputs (the exception being subsistence farmers who use only manual labor and perhaps animal power to produce food for their families that is then usually cooked on inefficient biomass cook-stoves). There has also been an ever growing demand for food as the world population grows, along with the increasing demand for higher p rotein diets. As a result, the agri-food production and processing sector has become a major producer of greenhouse gases (GHGs) This report aims to assist actors along the value chains, policy makers and other stakeholders in the agri-food industry to reduce the dependence on fossil fuels, reduce related greenhouse gas emissions, and become more resilient to possible future climate change impacts. Findings also show that the current dependence on fossil fuel inputs by the agri-food indust ry results in around seven to eight percent of GHG emissions. These emissions can be reduced by both improved energy efficiency along the agri-food chain and the deployment of renewable energy systems to displace fossil fuels. Various co-benefits identified - improved health, time saving, reduced drudgery, water savings, increased productivity, improved soil quality and nutrient values, biodiversity protection, food security, and better livelihoods and quality of life - should be taken into acco unt in any related policy development. As well, potential trade-offs also need to be carefully considered, in particular the use of more packaging materials to increase the shelf life of food products and ensuring that clean energy solutions do not compromise food production and food security. Moreover, what may be a suitable solution for an industrialized corporate farming system may not apply to a small family or subsistence farming systems. The challenge is to meet growing energy demands with low-carbon energy systems and to use the energy efficiently throughout the production, transport, processing, storage and distribution of food that takes into account the diversity of food production conditions.
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    Book (stand-alone)
    Policy Brief: The Case for Energy Smart Food Systems 2011
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    An interdisciplinary ‘nexus’ approach is necessary to ensure that food, energy and climate are jointly addressed, trade-offs considered, and appropriate safeguards are put in place. These issues will not be addressed through a single initiative. Because of its importance, scope and complexity, this challenge must be met through participation of a broad constituency of interested parties. This demands a multi partner international effort to implement energy-smart solutions in a non fragmented and cost effective way. Within this context, FAO proposes setting up an “Energy Smart’ Food for People and Climate” Multi-Partner Programme to be launched in 2012. The aim of the Programme is to address the energy dimension in relation to food security and energy poverty and should be seen as an essential component to climate-smart agriculture.

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