By Laura Barron-Lopez - 08/04/14 04:34 PM EDT
Secretary of State John Kerry urged the U.S. and Africa to engage in "climate-smart agriculture" to make fisheries and farms more resilient.
"The impacts of climate change are already being felt everywhere in the world: the Arctic, the Antarctic and everywhere in between," Kerry said on Monday at the U.S.-Africa Summit. "All you have to do is look at the conditions farmers are dealing with around the world: hotter temperatures, longer droughts, unpredictable rainfall patterns."
Roughly 70 percent of those living in Sierra Leone get their protein through fish, Kerry said.
"Carbon pollution is making some of the food that we do grow less nutritious than it used to be," he continued. "Rising carbon translates to lower levels of zinc and iron in wheat and other cereal grains."
That means that not only are people fighting for enough food, but they also may be lacking basic nutrition from the foods they eat, Kerry said.
The best way to aid farmers and fishers who provide food to billions of people is by helping them "endure climate impacts" and adopting "creative solutions that increase food production and climate-smart agriculture,” the secretary of State said.
In a joint statement, the U.S. and African nations said that under new African Union declarations at least 30 percent of African farm, pastoral and fishing households should be resistant to climate change and weather-related shocks over the next decade.
The countries also "reaffirmed their commitment to working together on climate change and poverty.”
On Monday, Kerry said climate change will continue to get worse "unless we are successful next year in President Obama's and many other leaders' goals to go to Paris and get a global agreement with respect to reductions in greenhouses."
Obama plans to attend a United Nations climate summit in New York next month to help build momentum for next year’s Paris talks, where 120 nations will work toward signing a global climate change pact.