New UN warming report: Hungry future can be avoided

Rodiano Bonacci
Agosto 12, 2019

"Unless we make bold changes in the way we produce our food and manage our land, we will not be able to cut emissions sufficiently and keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius", said Achim Steiner on Thursday.

"The way we treat land can either help or harm the climate".

The Climate Change and Land Use report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says rising temperatures and severe weather are putting pressure on land, and methods of land use - including agriculture - can help remove carbon from the air.

"The effectiveness of decision-making and governance is enhanced by the involvement of local stakeholders (particularly those most vulnerable to climate change including indigenous peoples and local communities, women, and the poor and marginalised)", the report stated.

"This report comes at a time when South Africa is at a crossroads of reviving the economy and managing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and high unemployment in a changing climate", Silandela said.

The report text is prepared by over 100 scientists but has to be approved by governments.

Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for 23% of total net manmade greenhouse gas emissions during 2007-2016. Natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry, according to the report. This exacerbates climate change, while climate change in turn exacerbates land degradation in many different ways.

LMP calls on the government to support a common agricultural policy that involves effective steps towards transforming farming subsidies and focuses on providing resources for climate-friendly technologies, Schmuck said. "However there are limits to what can be done, so in other cases degradation might be irreversible".

By contributing to desertification and land degradation, the climate crisis is seriously threatening land ecosystems, biodiversity and global food security.

The report, released Thursday by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, delivers stark warnings about the need for drastic changes to agricultural practices, human consumption habits and forestry management to prevent an escalation in the climate-change-related floods and forest fires that could lead to a global starvation.

"New knowledge shows an increase in risks from dryland water scarcity, fire damage, permafrost degradation and food system instability, even for global warming of around 1.5 degree C", said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.

"The level of risk posed by climate change depends both on the level of warming and on how population, consumption, production, technological development, and land management patterns evolve", note the report authors.

Proposals to combat the crisis include increasing the productivity of land, wasting less food and shifting the human diet away from cattle and other types of resource-intensive meat.

"Finally, the world's top scientists recognizes what we have always known", said indigenous leaders from 42 countries in a statement. "Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems, present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change", she said.

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