The United Nations’ (UN) Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued a report highlighting the importance of sustainable land use.
The IPCC’s latest special report, titled 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, was published yesterday, 8 August. It details the ways in which sustainable land use and concerted action across sectors to reduce global heating can mitigate the worldwide impact of climate change; noting that the land degradation and desertification which have occurred as a result of climate change have already had devastating effects on food security, as well as the livelihoods of pastoral and agricultural workers.
Commenting before the formal publication of the report, Andre Laperrière, Executive Director of Global Open Data for Agriculture and Nutrition (GODAN) – an open data initiative supported by the USA, UK and the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation, promoting the proactive sharing of nutritional and agricultural data to facilitate food security efforts – said: “The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report will provide the much needed authoritative call to action to further the awareness and understanding of how human activity is bringing detriment to the Earth’s natural resources.
“As the most authoritative report spotlighting the impact of climate change to be released to date, scientists hope it will give the issue of land use greater prominence in climate change negotiations. The report will demonstrate how human activity has resulted in significant land degradation, deforestation, the endangering of animals by the destruction of natural habitats, as well as food and water insecurity. The report will pay significant attention to the impact of our current farming processes on the levels of carbon dioxide emissions being released into the air as a further effort to inspire action towards the increase in sustainable farming practices.
“At the current levels of human activities, natural land which for centuries has been an asset to climate change has now become a major source of carbon. Uncultivated land is abundant with vegetation that helps absorb carbon dioxide, but now a quarter and a third of all greenhouse gas emissions comes from land use. Our industrialised farming practices are in fact the largest contribution to soil erosion and pollution, and perhaps the biggest hurdle we face is to try and teach about half a billion farmers globally to rework their agricultural model to be carbon sensitive.
“Other steps we can take would involve changing our collective diets to be environmentally ethical (avoiding mass produced, resource intensive and land pollutant foods such as avocados, palm oil and red meat), protect natural habitats and prevent largescale natural destruction (like in the Amazon rainforest), improve crop varieties and engage in ago-forestry (instead of cutting down forests to farm). I hope the IPCC report creates a larger conversation and grabs the attention of the global political corridors and the general public and creates a top down and bottoms up process for change.”