In this file:
· Eat less meat: UN climate change report calls for change to human diet
· New UN warming report sees hungry future that can be avoided
Eat less meat: UN climate change report calls for change to human diet
The report on global land use and agriculture from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change comes amid accelerating deforestation in the Amazon.
Quirin Schiermeier, Nature
08 August 2019
Efforts to curb greenhouse gas-emissions and the impacts of global warming will fall significantly short without drastic changes in global land use, agriculture and human diets, leading researchers warn in a high-level report commissioned by the United Nations.
The special report on climate and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) describes plant-based diets as a major opportunity for mitigating and adapting to climate change ― and includes a policy recommendation to reduce meat consumption.
On 8 August, the IPCC released a summary of the report, which is designed to inform upcoming climate negotiations amidst the worsening global climate crisis. More than 100 experts compiled the report in recent months, around half of whom hail from developing countries.
“We don’t want to tell people what to eat,” says Hans-Otto Pörtner, an ecologist who co-chairs the IPCC’s working group on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. “But it would indeed be beneficial, for both climate and human health, if people in many rich countries consumed less meat, and if politics would create appropriate incentives to that effect.”
Researchers also note the relevance of the report to tropical rainforests, where concerns are mounting about accelerating rates of deforestation. The Amazon rainforests is a huge carbon sink that acts to cool global temperature, but rates of deforestation are rising, in part due to the policies and actions of the government of Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.
Unstopped, deforestation could turn much of the remaining Amazon forests into a degraded type of desert, possibly releasing over 50 billion tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere in 30 to 50 years, says Carlos Nobre, a climate scientist at the University of São Paolo in Brazil. “That's very worrying,” he says.
“Unfortunately, some countries don’t seem to understand the dire need of stopping deforestation in the tropics,” says Pörtner. “We cannot force any government to interfere. But we hope that our report will sufficiently influence public opinion to that effect.”
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New UN warming report sees hungry future that can be avoided
By Seth Borenstein, Associated Press
via WSAZ (WV) - Aug 08, 2019
GENEVA (AP) — 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% 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. A special report, written by more than 100 scientists and unanimously approved by diplomats from nations around the world Thursday 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 Thursday's press conference emphasized 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 U.N. Climate Change secretariat who helped write a report chapter on risk management and decision-making, told The Associated Press after the report was presented at the World Meteorological Organization 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...