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We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report… Heat on the future of food supply

“No-one can say I’m ‘evil’ for advocating global depopulation! I just offered humanity a global paradise, where every man, woman and child is fed, clothed, and sheltered… free from environmental destruction, war, crime and poverty:/ … they completely rejected the offer!
The ONLY other option now is global depopulation!”

I remember when I first realised exactly what I was involved in… and I came home absolutely distraught and horrified out how ‘evil’ some of these people where, and the things they where talking about… NOW I REALISE MOST HUMAN BEINGS ARE FUCKING ZOMBIES!
Golemised, braindead, zombiefied, useless eaters… THEIR THE FUCKING PROBLEM! BILLIONS OF THEM! 😀
Someone said to me at Krav Maga “Are you preparing for a zombie apocalypse?”… I was like “Take a look out there mate! This is a fucking zombie apocalypse!” 😀

We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report

Cutting carbon from transport and energy ‘not enough’ IPCC finds

Hereford beef cattle.  The IPCC report says meat consumption should be cut to reduce methane emissions.
Hereford beef cattle. The IPCC report says meat consumption should be cut to reduce methane emissions. Photograph: Australian Scenics/Getty Images

Attempts to solve the climate crisis by cutting carbon emissions from only cars, factories and power plants are doomed to failure, scientists will warn this week.

A leaked draft of a report on climate change and land use, which is now being debated in Geneva by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), states that it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land.

Humans now exploit 72% of the planet’s ice-free surface to feed, clothe and support Earth’s growing population, the report warns. At the same time, agriculture, forestry and other land use produces almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. Advertisement

In addition, about half of all emissions of methane, one of the most potent greenhouse gases, come from cattle and rice fields, while deforestation and the removal of peat lands cause further significant levels of carbon emissions. The impact of intensive agriculture – which has helped the world’s population soar from 1.9 billion a century ago to 7.7 billion – has also increased soil erosion and reduced amounts of organic material in the ground.

In future these problems are likely to get worse. “Climate change exacerbates land degradation through increases in rainfall intensity, flooding, drought frequency and severity, heat stress, wind, sea-level rise and wave action,” the report states.

It is a bleak analysis of the dangers ahead and comes when rising greenhouse gas emissions have made news after triggering a range of severe meteorological events. These include news that:

• Arctic sea-ice coverage reached near record lows for July;

• The heatwaves that hit Europe last month were between 1.5C and 3C higher because of climate change;

• Global temperatures for July were 1.2C above pre-industrial levels for the month.

This last figure is particularly alarming, as the IPCC has warned that rises greater than 1.5C risk triggering climatic destabilisation while those higher than 2C make such events even more likely. “We are now getting very close to some dangerous tipping points in the behaviour of the climate – but as this latest leaked report of the IPCC’s work reveals, it is going to be very difficult to achieve the cuts we need to make to prevent that happening,” said Bob Ward, policy director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment.

The new IPCC report emphasises that land will have to be managed more sustainably so that it releases much less carbon than at present. Peat lands will need to be restored by halting drainage schemes; meat consumption will have to be cut to reduce methane production; while food waste will have to be reduced.

Among the measures put forward by the report is the proposal of a major shift towards vegetarian and vegan diets. “The consumption of healthy and sustainable diets, such as those based on coarse grains, pulses and vegetables, and nuts and seeds … presents major opportunities for reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” the report states.

There also needs to be a big change in how land is used, it adds. Policies need to include “improved access to markets, empowering women farmers, expanding access to agricultural services and strengthening land tenure security”, it states. “Early warning systems for weather, crop yields, and seasonal climate events are also critical.”

The chances of politicians and scientists achieving these goals are uncertain, however. Nations are scheduled to meet in late 2020, probably in the UK, at a key conference where delegates will plant how to achieve effective zero-carbon emission policies over the next few decades.

The US, the second largest emitter of greenhouse gases, will have just had its presidential elections. A new Democrat incumbent would likely be sympathetic to moves to control global heating. Re-election of Donald Trump, who has called climate change “a hoax”, would put a very different, far gloomier perspective on hopes of achieving a consensus.

Heat on the future of food supply

 The report says that if people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, the world can cut 15 per cent of current emissions by mid-century. Photo / AP
The report says that if people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, the world can cut 15 per cent of current emissions by mid-century. Photo / AP

The latest UN climate change report is urging us to change what we eat and how we use the land, writes Seth Borenstein.

Human-caused climate change is dramatically degrading the Earth’s land and the way people use the land is making global warming worse, a new United Nations scientific report says. That creates a vicious cycle which is already making food more expensive, scarcer and less nutritious.

“The cycle is accelerating,” said Nasa climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the report. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing.”

But if people change the way they eat, grow food and manage forests, it could help save the planet from a far warmer future, scientists said.

Earth’s land masses, which are only 30 per cent of the globe, are warming twice as fast as the planet as a whole. While heat-trapping gases are causing problems in the atmosphere, the land has been less talked about as part of climate change. Advertisement Advertise with NZME.

A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world at a meeting in Geneva, proposed possible fixes and made more dire warnings.

“The way we use land is both part of the problem and also part of the solution,” said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, a French climate scientist who co-chairs one of the panel’s working groups. “Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable.”

Scientists at a press conference after the publication of the report emphasised both the seriousness of the problem and the need to make societal changes soon.

“We don’t want a message of despair,” said science panel official Jim Skea, a professor at Imperial College London. “We want to get across the message that every action makes a difference.”

Still the stark message hit home hard for some of the authors.

“I’ve lost a lot of sleep about what the science is saying. As a person, it’s pretty scary,” Koko Warner, a manager in the UN Climate Change secretariat who helped write a report chapter on risk management and decision-making, said after the report was presented at the World Meteorological Organisation headquarters in Geneva.

“We need to act urgently.”

The report said climate change already has worsened land degradation, caused deserts to grow, permafrost to thaw and made forests more vulnerable to drought, fire, pests and disease. That’s happened even as much of the globe has gotten greener because of extra carbon dioxide in the air. Climate change has also added to the forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth.

“Climate change is really slamming the land,” said World Resources Institute researcher Kelly Levin, who wasn’t part of the study.

And the future could be worse.

“The stability of food supply is projected to decrease as the magnitude and frequency of extreme weather events that disrupt food chains increases,” the report said.

In the worst-case scenario, food security problems change from moderate to high risk with just a few more tenths of a degree of warming from now.

They go from high to “very high” risk with just another 1C of warming from now.

“The potential risk of multi-breadbasket failure is increasing,” Nasa’s Rosenzweig said. “Just to give examples, the crop yields were effected in Europe just in the last two weeks.”

Scientists had long thought one of the few benefits of higher levels of carbon dioxide, the major heat-trapping gas, was that it made plants grow more and the world greener, Rosenzweig said.

But numerous studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops. For example, high levels of carbon in the air in experiments show wheat has 6 per cent to 13 per cent less protein, 4 per cent to 7 per cent less zinc and 5 per cent to 8 per cent less iron, she said.

But better farming practices — such as no-till agricultural and better targeted fertiliser applications — have the potential to fight global warming too, reducing carbon pollution by up to 18 per cent of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

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 per cent of current emissions by mid-century. It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said. “Our current way of living and our economic system risks our future and the future of our children.”

The science panel said they aren’t telling people what to eat because that’s a personal choice.

Still, Hans-Otto Portner, a panel leader from Germany who said he lost weight and felt better after reducing his meat consumption, told a reporter that if she ate less ribs and more vegetables “that’s a good decision and you will help the planet reduce greenhouse gas emissions”.

Reducing food waste can fight climate change even more. The report said that between 2010 and 2016, global food waste accounted for 8 per cent to 10 per cent of heat-trapping emissions.

“Currently 25 per cent to 30 per cent of total food produced is lost or wasted,” the report said. Fixing that would free up millions of square kilometres of land.

With just another 0.5C of warming, which could happen in the next 10 to 30 years, the risk of unstable food supplies, wildfire damage, thawing permafrost and water shortages in dry areas “are projected to be high”, the report said.

At another 1C of warming from now, which could happen in about 50 years, it said those risks “are projected to be very high”.

Most scenarios predict the world’s tropical regions will have “unprecedented climatic conditions by the mid-to-late 21st century”, the report noted.

Agriculture and forestry together account for about 23 per cent of the heat-trapping gases that are warming the Earth, slightly less than from cars, trucks, boats and planes. Add in transporting food, energy costs, packaging and that grows to 37 per cent, the report said.

But the land is also a great carbon “sink”, which sucks heat-trapping gases out of the air.

From about 2007 to 2016, agriculture and forestry every year put 5.2 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air, but pulled 11.2 billion tonnes of it out.

“This additional gift from nature is limited. It’s not going to continue forever,” said study co-author Luis Verchot, a scientist at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia. “If we continue to degrade ecosystems, if we continue to convert natural ecosystems, we continue to deforest and we continue to destroy our soils, we’re going to lose this natural subsidy.”

Overall land emissions are increasing, especially because of cutting down forests in the Amazon in places such as Brazil, Colombia and Peru, Verchot said.

Recent forest management changes in Brazil “contradicts all the messages that are coming out of the report”, Portner said.

“Our current way of living and our economic system risks our future and the future of our children,” said Germany’s Environment Minister, Svenja Schulze, who questioned whether it makes sense for a country like Germany to import large amounts of soy from Latin America, where forests are being destroyed to plant the crop, to feed unsustainable numbers of livestock in Germany.

“We ought to recognise that we have profound limits on the amount of land available and we have to be careful about how we utilise it,” said Stanford University environmental sciences chief Chris Field, who wasn’t part of the report.

4 thoughts on “We must change food production to save the world, says leaked report… Heat on the future of food supply”

  1. But voluntary and steady as we go. No dictators wiping out continents, no dystopia. Just sensible voluntary tying on knots in the organs of reproduction. Imagine how lovely it would be not to have neighbours!

    Like

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