Saving the planet means taking pressure off land, IPCC warns

Saving the planet means taking pressure off land, IPCC warns

EURACTIV's media partner, The Guardian, reports.

The paper went on to note that more than 500 million people today live in areas affected by erosion linked to climate change, "which makes it imperative that all countries commit to sustainable land use to help limit greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late".

Further heating will lead to unprecedented climate conditions at lower latitudes, with potential growth in hunger, migration and conflict and increased damage to the great northern forests. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said.

The report highlights that land is both a source and a sink of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Reducing this loss and waste would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve food security.

However, there is some optimism in the report for producers as it recommends an increase in plant-based diets including fruit and vegetables to help limit climate change.

Reducing deforestation and forest degradation could result in a reduction of 0.4-5.8 gigatonnes of Carbon dioxide equivalent, the report said. "That's a key message of this report". Together those four crops account for two-thirds of the calories consumed by people, and with the population growing by 80 million people each year on average, the world needs to produce more food, not less. "Earth has never felt smaller, its natural ecosystems never under such direct threat".

Land use and changes in land use have been an integral part of the conversation on climate change.

If current trends continue, but agricultural productivity does not increase beyond 2010 levels, the WRI report concludes that most of the globe's remaining forests would need to be cleared to feed the world. That report, which cited data from the IPCC, said the impact of climate change may vary from country to country, with some countries' economies decreasing from projected levels while others increase.

"We humans affect more than 70 percent of ice-free land". On desertification and land degradation, the IPCC report noted that when land is degraded, it becomes less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil's ability to absorb carbon.

However, among the negatives, the report offered some hope and presented ways to address the possible food crisis, though a reevaluation of land use and agriculture worldwide would be needed, as well as a change in consumer behavior.

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Emissions relating to fertilisers have risen ninefold since the early 1960s. In some cases, intensive farming practices can degrade soil more than 100x faster than the time it takes for new soil to form, leaving fertilizers to pick up the slack.

Individuals can take action, the authors said.

AUBREY: The big picture here is that if people in countries that consume a lot of meat - and that is definitely us here in the USA - cut way back, it could lead to a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

"There is much more we could do in that space that we are not doing, partly because it is hard", said Pete Smith, a professor at the University of Aberdeen and a senior IPCC author.

The science panel said they aren't telling people what to eat because that's a personal choice. "But you could incentivise".

"This IPCC suggestion is just so typical of green miserablism".

Food waste and meat consumption are major contributors to global warming - with food waste producing between 8 percent and 10 percent and livestock 14.5 percent of global emissions, according to the World Wildlife Fund, CNN reported.

Meat may be a delicious staple for most Swiss but it is not so good for the climate. EURACTIV's partner edie.net reports.

"We need to be really careful when we convert a forest to development or we release nutrients into a bay in a way that degrades sea grasses [or] marshlands", says Laura Marx, a forest ecologist with The Nature Conservancy.

David Viner, a professor at the University of East Anglia and a senior IPCC author, said: "Land is a vital resource and we have to look after it if we are going to have a sustainable future."€.

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