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Road to Rio: Improving energy use key challenge for world’s food systemsFAO advocates for energy-smart food systems during UN Conference on Sustainable Development
14 June 2012, Rome – Agriculture’s heavy dependence on fossil fuels is undermining the sector’s ability to feed the world, perpetuating poverty and undermining efforts to build a more sustainable world economy, FAO said today.
The warning came as the UN Food and Agriculture Organization released a study on “energy-smart” food production and use ahead of the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, where global energy challenges will figure high on the agenda.
Together, the world’s food production systems — from the farms where food is grown to further along the processing and marketing chain — consume 30 percent of all available energy, FAO’s study shows.
Most of that energy consumption — 70 percent — happens after food leaves farms, as it is transported, processed, packed, shipped, stored, marketed and prepared.
And a significant amount of all energy used in the food chain — about 40 percent — is simply lost due to food losses and waste (globally one third of all food, around 1.3 billion tons, is thrown away or lost to spoilage each year.)
Meanwhile, almost 3 billion people have limited access to modern energy services for heating and cooking, and 1.4 billion have zero or limited access to electricity, FAO’s report notes.
“Higher costs of oil and natural gas, insecurity regarding the limited reserves of these non-renewable resources and the global consensus on the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, could hamper global efforts to meet the growing demand for food, unless the agrifood chain is decoupled from fossil fuel use,” it says.
The report also points out that without access to electricity and sustainable energy sources, communities have little chance to achieve food security, and no opportunities for securing productive livelihoods that can lift them out of poverty.”...
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Link: Food and climate change: the forgotten link
Link: How can we do more with less? Commission gathers high-level input on resource-efficient growth
Link: Member states want next EU Environment Action Plan to be the vehicle for a greener Europe
Other EVANA-articles about this topic:
Putting forests at the heart of a new, greener economy ()
A citizens' guide for the Rio+20 summit (en)
20 - 22 June 2012 - Brazil (en)