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U.S. Dairy Climate Progress and Commitments Showcased at COP28

ARLINGTON, VA – Culminating on Food and Agriculture Day (December 10), a senior U.S. dairy delegation to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) highlighted U.S. dairy’s commitments and progress toward global climate and food security goals while ensuring U.S. dairy farmer perspectives remained central in climate policy considerations.

In numerous panels and events – as well as in bilateral meetings with international institutions, non-government organizations, and country representatives – the U.S. dairy delegation showcased U.S. dairy’s foundational research, on-farm pilots and research, local and regional networks, and work to catalyze economic drivers that are key to accelerating achievement of emission reductions, water efficiency, and water quality goals. The delegation was led by a U.S. dairy farmer leader whose first-hand perspectives and experience were invaluable to COP28 in the context of unprecedented focus on agricultural production and sustainable food systems.

Leading the delegation, USDEC Interim Chair Alex Peterson commented: 

“With COP28 bringing together close to 100,000 attendees and witnessing over 150 countries signing the Emirates Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, it was critical for me as a U.S. dairy leader that COP decision-makers understand that U.S. dairy producers are taking climate action and making progress to meaningfully reduce the sector’s environmental footprint. 

At the same time, it is essential that farmers be at the table to educate climate policymakers about the realities of food production, the critical nutritional value that dairy products deliver around the world, and what will be required to meet climate objectives while sustaining rural communities. 

Our efforts on the ground at COP28 helped to demonstrate the impact of U.S. dairy farmer-funded investments in research and climate innovation alongside our commitment to delivering sustainable nutrition by expanding international trade.”

Key topics and themes addressed by the U.S. delegation at COP28 included:

  • Building partnerships for sustainable, productive agriculture while reducing emissions.
  • Ensuring incorporation of farmer and rancher perspectives in climate conversations.
  • Promoting the role of nutrient-dense dairy in sustainable food systems.
  • Demonstrating the importance of expanding science-based, international food trade for nutrition security.
  • Expanding U.S. dairy collaboration across academia, business, and civil society to deliver better climate outcomes.

U.S. dairy’s participation in COP28 follows similar engagement last year at COP27. Through USDEC, which was recently accredited as an official observer of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (the parent body of COP), U.S. dairy plans to continue to engage in this important global forum, particularly as the focus on food, agriculture and global trade expands to better inform the world of its global leadership in climate innovation and demonstrate that U.S. dairy is a global solution for sustainable food systems. With farmer leaders at the center of the strategy, these efforts will also help to inform decision-makers about what is achievable, what is required to support producers, and push back on misguided policies that will not yield desired nutritional and climate outcomes.

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