CLAIM: A June 2 Instagram post (archived link) shows a screenshot of a headline and a photo of former Secretary of State John Kerry, who now serves as the U.S. special presidential envoy for climate.
The screenshot was accompanied by a claim that John Kerry said farmers must stop growing of food in order to meet net zero goal for emissions.
“Farmers Must Stop Growing Food to Meet ‘Net Zero’ Goals for ‘Emissions,'” reads the post which was published in a May 27 article by Slay News about Kerry’s May 10 speech at the AIM for Climate Summit.
VERIFICATION: John Kerry is a former United States Secretary of State and now Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. In his address at the AIM for Climate Summit on May 10, 2023, warned that the world can’t tackle climate change without first addressing the agriculture sector’s emissions.
Kerry lamented that agriculture production alone creates 33% of the world’s total greenhouse gas emissions, arguing that reducing those emissions must be “front and center” in the quest to defeat global warming.
The former secretary of state touted so-called climate smart agriculture as a potential solution.
“A lot of people have no clue that agriculture contributes about 33% of all the emissions of the world,” he said during his keynote address.
“We can’t get to net-zero, we don’t get this job done unless agriculture is front and center as part of the solution. So all of us understand here the depths of this mission.”
“Food systems themselves contribute a significant amount of emissions just in the way in which we do the things we’ve been doing,” he continued.
“With a growing population on the planet – we just crossed the threshold of 8 billion fellow citizens around the world – emissions from the food system alone are projected to cause another half a degree of warming by mid-century,” said Kerry.
When the clip from the event was viewed, there was no statement by Kerry suggesting farmers should stop growing food, contrary to the post’s claim. Rather, he expressed worries over the impact of climate change on global rates of malnutrition.
“A 2-degree future could result in an additional 600 million people not getting enough to eat,” he said. “And you just can’t continue to warm the planet while also expecting to feed it.”
He also advocated studies into heat-resistant plants and alternative feeds for livestock that would produce less methane. He never mentioned halting any kind of agricultural production.
CONCLUSION: A claim that John Kerry called on farmers to stop growing food to meet ‘net zero’ goal is FALSE.
This content was produced with support from the Independent Media Response Fund, an initiative of the Check Global Program at Meedan to respond to global challenges through hyperlocal initiatives. The fund is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).