World food security increasingly at risk due to ‘unprecedented’ climate change impact, new UN report warns

More than 500 million people today live in areas affected by erosion linked to climate change, the UN warned on Thursday, before urging all countries to commit to sustainable land use to help limit greenhouse gas emissions before it is too late.

Speaking at the launch of a Special Report on Climate Change and Land by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva, experts highlighted how the rise in global temperatures, linked to increasing pressures on fertile soil, risked jeopardizing food security for the planet.

Humans affect more than 70 per cent of ice-free land and a quarter is already degraded, noted Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of one of three Working Groups that contributed to the bumper 1,200-page report.

“Today 500 million people live in areas that experience desertification,” she told journalists. “People living in already degraded or desertified areas are increasingly negatively affected by climate change.”

Plant-based food and fuels, key to climate change fight

This soil degradation has a direct impact on the amount of carbon the earth is able to contain, Dr. Masson-Delmotte explained.

Amid recent reports that more an 820 million people are undernourished around the world, Co-chair of another Working Group, Jim Skea, highlighted the fact that up to 30 per cent of food is lost or wasted.

In future, countries should consider all options to tackle loss and waste, thereby reducing the pressure on land and the resulting greenhouse gas emissions, including by growing plant-based, or so-called “bio” fuels, he said.

“Limiting global warming to 1.5 or even two degrees (Celsius) will involve removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and land has a critical role to play in carbon dioxide removal,” Dr Skea insisted. “Agricultural practices can help build up carbon in soils, but it could also mean using more bio-energy with or without carbon capture and storage and expanding forests.”

Produced by 107 scientists from more than 50 countries across all regions of the world – with more than half of the contributing authors from developing nations – the IPCC report provides a peer-based review of the latest research on land use today.

According to the IPCC report, agriculture, forestry and other land use contribute to around a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions, a fact that policy-makers should consider when considering how they should invest to adapt to and mitigate the effects of climate change.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if we want to keep the load two degrees Celsius,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of Working Group II, before cautioning that there were “limits to the scale of energy crops and afforestation that could be used to achieve this goal”.

Reason for hope, if immediate action is taken

The need for immediate action in the face of a warming planet was underlined by another Working Group Co-Chair, Hans-Otto Pörtner, who stressed that there was “no possibility for anybody to say, ‘Oh, climate change is happening and we (will) just adapt to it.’ The capacity to adapt is limited.”

Despite the challenges many countries face from climate-change related pressures on land, positive action was needed now, Dr Pörtner maintained, amid estimates that the global population is set to reach around 10 billion by 2050.

“There are some regions and some places, especially in the lower latitudes where vulnerability is extreme,” he said. “But even in those countries, when there is an emphasis on adaptation in their development strategies, mitigation should play a key role.”

Before Thursday’s report launch, the text had to be assessed and approved by 195 Member States, a process that took longer than expected on Wednesday. In addition to the Special Report on Climate Change and Land, the IPCC plans to release its latest findings on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate next month, ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit on 23 September in New York.

The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) in 1988 to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks, and to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

Amid recent reports that more than 820 million people are undernourished around the world, Co-chair of another Working Group, Jim Skea, highlighted the fact that up to 30 per cent of food produced, is simply lost or wasted.

In future, countries should consider all options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including by growing plant-based fuels, he said.

“Limiting global warming to one point five or even to decrease will involve removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and learned has a critical role to play in carbon dioxide removal,” he added.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Health Education, is it a necessity?

From coca to cocoa: three lessons from Peru on how farmers can leave the drug trade behind

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, who gets it and who pays the bill?

Dozens killed and injured by new airstrikes in western Yemen, UN coordinator condemns ‘outrageous’ toll

China Unlimited and the Chinese dream

Youth employment crisis easing but far from over

The Europe we want: Just, Sustainable, Democratic and Inclusive

Investing in rural women and girls, ‘essential’ for everyone’s future: UN chief

Further reforms in France can drive growth, improve public finances and boost social cohesion

Mental distress during the pandemic: is there a way out?

What has changed in the French politico-economic horizon

Everyone has ‘a moral imperative’ to uphold the rights of persons with disabilities, says UN chief

This entrepreneur built an island resort out of plastic waste

EU Parliament approves CETA: the EU-Canada free trade deal sees the light in Trump’s gloomy era

Civilian death toll continues to mount in Syria, UN relief chief tells Security Council

Fears for food security and the future of farming families, as Fall Armyworm spreads to Asia

Bacteria vs. humans: how to fight in this world war?

World’s human rights watchdog spotlights Afghanistan, Yemen and 12 others: Here’s the scoop

Draghi keeps the euro cheap, helps debt refinancing, recapitalization of banks and growth

Why we need a Paris Agreement for nature

How blockchain can cut the cost of new medicine

Madagascar: UN chief commends leaders, State institutions following ‘historic milestone’ election

If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

Soil erosion must be stopped ‘to save our future’, says UN agriculture agency

Europe’s forests are booming. Here’s why.

Batteries included: how better storage can transform renewable energy

Replacement for United States on Human Rights Council to be elected ‘as soon as possible’

MEPs back first EU management plan for fish stocks in the Western Mediterranean

Why COVID-19 could mean a new dawn for Nigeria’s manufacturing sector

Eurostat: Real unemployment double than the official rate

A major win for transgender rights: UN health agency drops ‘gender identity disorder’, as official diagnosis

Lessons from the Global Entrepreneurship Index

Jean-Claude Juncker and Theresa May at last week’s EU Council. Source: EC Audiovisual Services / Copyright: European Union, 2017 / Photo: Etienne Ansotte

EU leaders open “Phase Two” of Brexit talks and warn Theresa May of tougher times

This is how AI can help you make sense of the world

Boosting adult learning essential to help people adapt to future of work

Will the European Court of Justice change data privacy laws to tackle terrorism?

How can we produce enough protein to feed 10 billion people?

Greenhouse gas emissions have already peaked in 30 major cities

Commission presents EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements for signature and conclusion

Improving Italy’s capital market will boost growth opportunities for Italian companies and savers

‘Uphold human dignity’, dismantle ‘specious notion of racial superiority’ urges UN chief

The company of the future must do well by doing good

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Towards a climate-neutral Europe: EU invests over €10bn in innovative clean technologies

‘Crippling to our credibility’ that number of women peacekeepers is so low: UN chief

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

This is how countries compare on gun deaths

Commission Work Programme 2019: Delivering on promises and preparing for the future

Sri Lankan authorities must work ‘vigorously’ to ease simmering ethno-religious tensions, urges UN rights expert

UNcomplicating the UN: a new podcast is born over coffee in New York

Stronger European Border and Coast Guard to secure EU’s borders

Commission paralysed before the banking leviathan

Malta: investigation risks being compromised while Prime Minister is in office

Industrial products: Lifting the last impediments in the EU single market

Is South Korea set to lose from its FTA with the EU?

Berlin cannot dictate anymore the terms for the enactment of the European Banking Union

Half of Eurozone in deflation expecting salvation from monetary measures

US life expectancy is falling – here’s why

Why business schools can’t “return to normal” after the COVID-19 pandemic

More women and girls needed in the sciences to solve world’s biggest challenges

More Stings?

Advertising

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s