Food systems contribute 21-37% of global greenhouse gas emissions, according to the best estimate. But food systems have received far less attention than power and transport systems in the global response to climate change. Very few countries take a comprehensive view of the food system in their climate action plans (known as “Nationally-Determined Contributions” or “NDCs”) submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Columbia University, New York University, and the Agricultural Model Intercomparison and Improvement Project (AgMIP), in collaboration with FAO’s statistical experts, have launched a program to improve data on food system emissions, develop better policy responses and educate the public on the food-climate connection. The Center on Global Energy Policy hosted a discussion of these issues, with a particular focus on the opportunities to include food system measures in the updated NDCs that national governments submit to the UNFCCC in the next year.


  • Matthew Hayek, Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Studies, New York University
  • Cynthia Rosenzweig, Senior Research Scientist, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Earth Institute’s Center for Climate Systems Research, Columbia University; Co-Founder, AgMIP
  • David Sandalow, Inaugural Fellow, Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia SIPA
  • Francesco N. Tubiello, Team Leader, Environmental Statistics, Food and Agriculture Organization