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U.N. flags need to cut meat to curb land use impact on global warming

U.N. flags need to cut meat to curb land use impact on global warming

Postby smix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:14 pm

U.N. flags need to cut meat to curb land use impact on global warming
Reuters

URL: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-clim ... SKCN1UY0UJ
Category: Politics
Published: August 8, 2019

Description: LONDON/GENEVA (Reuters) - Global meat consumption must fall to curb global warming, reduce growing strains on land and water and improve food security, health and biodiversity, a United Nations report on the effects of climate change concluded. Although the report stopped short of explicitly advocating going meat free, it called for big changes to farming and eating habits to limit the impact of population growth and changing consumption patterns on stretched land and water resources. Plant-based foods and sustainable animal-sourced food could free up several million square kilometers of land by 2050 and cut 0.7-8.0 gigatonnes a year of carbon dioxide equivalent, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said. “There are certain kinds of diets that have a lower carbon footprint and put less pressure on land,” Jim Skea, professor at London’s Imperial College, said on Thursday. The IPCC met this week in Geneva, Switzerland to finalize its report which should help to guide governments meeting this year in Chile on ways to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement. “The IPCC does not recommend people’s diets ... Dietary choices are very often shaped or influenced by local production practices and cultural habits,” Skea, who is one of the report’s authors, told reporters in Geneva. Land can be both a source and sink of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, and better land management can help to tackle climate change, the IPCC said. But it is not the only solution and cutting emissions from all sectors is essential to quickly curtail global warming. “The window for making these changes is closing fast. If there is further delay in reducing emissions, we will miss the opportunity to successfully manage the climate change transition in the land sector,” it said.

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Since the pre-industrial era, land surface air temperature has risen by 1.53 degrees Celsius, twice as much as the global average temperature (0.87C), causing more heatwaves, droughts and heavy rain, as well as land degradation and desertification. Human use directly affects more than 70% of the global, ice-free land surface and agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater use, the IPCC added in the report. Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for 23% of total net man-made greenhouse gas emissions during 2007-2016. When pre- and post-production activity in the food system are included, that rises to up to 37%. Last year the IPCC’s first special report warned that keeping the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), rather than the 2C target agreed under the Paris accord, required rapid change across society.
FOOD SECURITY
The IPCC warned of more disruption to global food chains as extreme weather becomes more frequent due to climate change and said environmental costs should be factored into food. It projects a median increase of 7.6% in cereal prices by 2050, meaning higher food prices and an increased risk of hunger. While an estimated 821 million people are undernourished, changing consumption habits have already contributed to about 2 billion adults being overweight or obese. Per capita supply of vegetable oils and meat has more than doubled based on data since 1961 but 25-30% of total food produced is still lost or wasted. Yields of crops such as maize and wheat have declined in some regions, while those of maize, wheat and sugar beets have increased in others in recent decades.
FOREST FACTOR
While forests can soak up heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere, desertification and deforestation can amplify warming due to the loss of vegetation cover and soil erosion. Measures to cut emissions, such as the production of biofuels, biochar - made from biomass - as well as planting trees, will also increase demand for land conversion. Reducing deforestation and forest degradation could result in a reduction of 0.4-5.8 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, the report said. The Amazon, about 60% of which lies in Brazil, is sometimes called the “lungs of the world” due to the amount of CO2 it can absorb but it was not directly mentioned in the IPCC’s summary for policymakers. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has supported opening up protected areas of the world’s largest tropical rainforest to facilitate agriculture and mining since taking office in January. The report text is prepared by over 100 scientists but has to be approved by governments. In those discussions, Brazil and India were very active to protect their national agro-industrial interests, a source familiar with the talks said.
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To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change

Postby smix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:31 pm

To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change
NPR

URL: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/20 ... ust-change
Category: Politics
Published: August 8, 2019

Description: Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change. The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane. That's important because methane is particularly good at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And the problem is getting more severe. "Emissions from agricultural production are projected to increase," the authors warn. "Delaying action" on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they continue, "could result in some irreversible impacts on some ecosystems."

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This is the latest in a series of reports from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The new report adds weight and detail to a warning put out by the same panel of scientists last fall, in which they sounded the alarm about the inadequacy of the pledges countries have made so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At that time, the panel broadly suggested that farmland would need to shrink and forests would need to grow to keep Earth from getting more than 1.5 degrees Celsius hotter than it was in the preindustrial era. Global temperatures have already risen about 1 degree Celsius in the past 150 years. To meet that temperature target, global greenhouse gas emissions will need to fall by 40% to 50% in the next decade. Scientists say the only way to achieve that reduction is to significantly increase the amount of land that's covered in trees and other vegetation and significantly reduce the amount of methane and other greenhouse gases that come from raising livestock such as cows, sheep and goats. The new report offers some broad suggestions for how countries might achieve that. For example, for countries that have lost tree cover in the past century, reforestation can help suck greenhouse gases out of the air, while also preventing soil from drying up. Reducing food waste can also help reduce a country's greenhouse gas footprint. Controlling emissions from agriculture is also a food-security issue. Greenhouse gases from food production create a vicious cycle: As Earth gets hotter, farming gets more difficult in many places, which forces farmers to clear more land to grow food. "Climate change, including increases in frequency and intensity of extremes, has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems, as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions," the report's authors write. If greenhouse gas emissions continue to increase, as they are doing today, it will exacerbate those challenges and eventually make it all but impossible to control global warming without creating serious food shortages. The U.N. panel is the latest group of experts to grapple with a global conundrum: how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, deforestation and other land use without creating food shortages or displacing people whose livelihoods rely on practices that are unsustainable globally. Scientists and economists have been studying the effects of our diets on the environment for years. There's a growing consensus that a transition to a more plant-centered diet would help. Currently, about 50% of the globe's vegetated land is dedicated to agriculture — and about 30% of cropland is used to grow grain for animal feed. Given how much land it takes to grow food to feed livestock, meat production is a leading cause of deforestation. A report released last month by the World Resources Institute finds that if current dietary patterns continue, an additional 593 million hectares — which is almost twice the size of India — would be needed to feed the projected 9.8 billion people (the anticipated population) by 2050. Right now, agriculture generates an estimated 25% of annual greenhouse gas emissions, according to the WRI; that's when you combine food production and the land-use changes associated with farming, such as clearing vegetation and plowing. 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. And the globe would exceed the greenhouse gas emission targets set by the Paris climate agreement. As we've reported:
"The WRI estimates that if people in the U.S. and other heavy meat-eating countries reduced their consumption of beef (and other meat from ruminants) to about 1.5 burgers per person, per week, it would 'nearly eliminate the need for additional agricultural expansion (and associated deforestation), even in a world with 10 billion people.' "
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Kansas ranchers dispute UN report that links cows to climate change

Postby smix » Thu Aug 08, 2019 4:51 pm

Kansas ranchers dispute UN report that links cows to climate change
Youtube - CBS This Morning

URL: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYzA0fo8ZIg
Category: Politics
Published: August 8, 2019

Description: A major report just out from the U.N. focuses on the key role of our food and land use in fighting climate change. Scientists outlined the results of the two-year study in Switzerland. Thursday morning. The intergovernmental panel on climate change says agriculture, forestry and other land uses produce nearly half of the world's methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that also comes from cows. Adriana Diaz reports.

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