United Nations pushes for sustainable land use, plant-based fuel

United Nations pushes for sustainable land use, plant-based fuel

The IPCC report spans some 1,300 pages and comes under the lengthy title, Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says agriculture, forestry and other land uses produce almost half of the world's methane emissions, a greenhouse gas that also comes from cows. Meat production is, currently, using 77% of the global agriculture land and the food system (both pre- and post-production activities) alone contributes 21-37% of total GHG emissions.

The Sharjah-based daily noted that NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the United Nations report, suggests that if people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, such as fruits, vegetables and seeds, the world can save as much as another 15 percent of current emissions by mid-century. Natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry. Apart from meeting the promises made at the global high table, India has to step up its fight against land degradation simply because we have many more mouths to feed.

But many ranchers argue the cow-climate change connection is overblown.

The report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change.

If people change their diets by reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, the world can save as much as another 15 per cent of current emissions by mid-century, Ms Rosenzweig said.

Besides "coarse grains, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds", that "balanced diet" also includes "animal-sourced food produced in resilient, sustainable and low-greenhouse gas emission systems", the report concluded.

Last year, the same body issued the alarming finding that we have roughly a dozen years left before the world misses its window for averting runaway global warming. "There, if you're a poor small farmer, you starve and have to sell off all your equipment, and then you're stuck".

The panel stressed that it's essential that policy-makers keep this in mind when considering how they should invest, adapt to, and try to mitigate the effects of climate change.

Individuals can take action, the authors said. To prevent such a temperature rise, global greenhouse gas emissions need to decrease by 40%-50% in the next decade, the scientists said.

There are plenty of obstacles to adopting the report's suggestions around food.

It added that food systems are becoming even more complex and interlinked, blurring lines of regulatory responsibility, as experts point out.

In a sign of the growing risk that climate change is seen to pose for countries' economies, Moody's in July bought a controlling interest in a company that measures the physical risks of climate change.

"When people think about solving climate change and what governments can do, they have to think about agriculture", he said.

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