Food waste, soil erosion, deforestation and, yes, methane from cows feature in a major Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on land. Farmers emerge not only as contributors to climate change, but some of its most significant victims.
Farming needs to change to help save the climate – but if other emitters don’t slash their carbon outputs to save the climate and, consequently, farming, our food supply will be in trouble, writes Eloise Gibson in New Zealand based Newsroom.
The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land is the first time the global network of scientists has looked at land use and climate change in the broadest sense, and the authors have warned that food security will suffer if global warming overshoots 1.5C or, especially, 2C.
The report makes clear that much of the onus is on industrial, transport and other emitters to urgently cut greenhouse emissions to give food growers the friendly climate they’ll need to feed a growing and increasingly affluent global population.
Agriculture itself is in a tricky position: its existence as an industry is non-negotiable if people are going to continue to eat.
But the way people use land currently is responsible for about 23 percent of global emissions, counting both deforestation and farming emissions. That figure is higher – up to 37 percent – if emissions from the whole food system are counted.
Now that world governments have signed off the IPCC report, it will be used in future discussion on government climate action. The report is sprinkled with actions that could be taken now to help the climate, and land.