Pathways for India for raising climate ambition, biodiversity protection, sustainable development

An Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A) note on IIM-A representing India in the FABLE consortium, which mobilises top knowledge institutions from 20 countries to support ways to achieve sustainable food and land use systems for achieving climate change goals:

Operating as part of the Food and Land Use Coalition, the Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium mobilizes top knowledge institutions from 20 countries to support the development of decision-support tools and long-term pathways towards sustainable food and land-use systems. The FABLE Secretariat, led by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), with support from EAT and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), coordinates the FABLE Consortium.

A team of researchers led by Prof. Ranjan Kumar Ghosh at IIMA outlines FABLE Pathways for India which identify ways in which food and land-use systems can contribute to raising climate ambition, aligning climate mitigation and biodiversity protection policies, and achieving other sustainable development priorities in India. It presents two pathways for food and land-use systems for the period 2020-2050: Current Trends which represents the Business as Usual scenario and a Sustainable, more ambitious pathway. These pathways examine the trade-offs between achieving the FABLE targets under limited land availability and constraints to balance supply and demand at national and global levels within a global partial equilibrium model— the Model of Agricultural Production and its Impact on the Environment—MAgPIE developed by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).

The Food, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Land-Use, and Energy (FABLE) Consortium launched its 2020 report (https://www.unsdsn.org/fable), “Pathways to Sustainable Land-Use and Food Systems”. This second global report of the FABLE Consortium presents these pathways for 20 countries. Its findings suggest that integrated strategies across food production, biodiversity, climate, and diets can meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“The FABLE pathways can be a method for problem solving, working backwards from mid-century targets and shedding light on the major transformations that are needed to achieve them. They provide a framework for engaging stakeholders, can help identify mid-term technology benchmarks, and provide a long-term perspective to help countries avoid locking themselves into unsustainable food and land-use systems. They also provide a tool for countries to integrate biodiversity conservation and restoration as well as food systems into their climate strategies, particularly in the run-up to the climate and biodiversity COPs in 2021”, says Prof. Ranjan Ghosh.

The Current Trends Pathways (BAU) for India corresponds to the medium boundary of feasible action under the assumption that a global mean warming increase is likely between 2°C and 3°C above pre-industrial temperatures, by 2100. The ambitious Sustainable Pathway represents a high boundary of feasible action, corresponds to a future based on India’s pledges under international commitments such as the Paris Agreement, Bonn Challenge, and Aichi Targets, as well as other aspirational targets to reach higher production of renewables and biofuels, more efficient technologies and a transition towards healthy diets (i.e. according to recommendations of the EAT-Lancet Commission).

Our analysis projects an emission reduction of 1064 Mt CO2 equivalent per year under the Sustainable Pathway compared to BAU by 2050. This reduction gets achieved primarily due to a transition towards healthy diets (EAT Lancet recommendation), an improvement in livestock production systems, meeting an afforestation target of 26 Mha by 2030, and inclusion of the national biofuel mandate.

“In the ambitious pathway, we assume India’s transition towards healthy diets as recommended by the EAT-LANCET commission. We find that India could meet the Minimum Dietary Energy Requirement by 2050, minus a few calories. Overall, this transition can be met through the reduction of sugars and oils and an increase in consumption of fruits and vegetables”, says Vartika Singh from IFPRI and a member of the FABLE research team.

Chandan Jha, a FABLE researcher from IIMA states that the differences between these two pathways are meant to help stakeholders and policy makers to better understand the differences between current trajectories and potential future trends of sustainable indicators to support the setting of national targets and monitor their progress. He says, “we hope our results can be useful in developing a framework of policy actions that aims to achieve several international commitments for climate mitigation and forest conservation, such as the Paris Agreement, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Bonn Challenge”.

In a short period of time, the global FABLE Consortium country teams have developed major analytical capacities on land-use and food systems, pioneered new tools, and strengthened the analytical capacity in 20 countries. It plans to focus upcoming work on the following priorities:

1. As part of the global food and land use coalition (FOLU), work with interested governments to support integrated strategies, including climate and biodiversity strategies under the climate and biodiversity conventions, that address short-term pressures on land-use and food systems and are consistent with meeting long-term goals.

2. Advance a deeper understanding of how countries can design, implement, and monitor better policies to transform their land-use and food systems through the new Food, Environment, Land, and Development (FELD) Action Tracker

3. Improve modeling tools to develop pathways and model policy options for land-use and food systems.

4. Train the next generation of analysts and policymakers in developing long-term pathways towards sustainable land-use and food systems, so that FABLE tools can be applied by any research group or government that would like to do so.

5. Strengthen and expand the FABLE Consortium, including by welcoming new country teams.

The full report can be accessed here

For more details on FABLE work please visit https://www.unsdsn.org/fable

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