Changes in land management can reduce global warming

Red meat had a much higher carbon impact than other types of meat due to the emissions given off during production as well as clearing land to grow animal feed

UN: Misuse of land and agriculture is driving climate change

"Climate change has already affected food security due to warming, changing precipitation patterns, and greater frequency of some extreme events", it says.

Already, 500 million people on the planet live on lands turning into desert, according to the report, produced by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), an global group of scientists convened by the United Nations.

Improving how we manage the land could reduce climate change at the same time as it improves agricultural sustainability, supports biodiversity, and increases food security.

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".

"This is a ideal storm".

Land is intimately linked to climate.

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Intensive exploitation of these resources also produces huge amounts of planet-warming CO2, methane and nitrous oxide, while agriculture guzzles up 70 percent of Earth's freshwater supply. And this is an important point because now, global lands absorb more carbon than they emit.

With humanity's failure to live within Earth's natural boundaries, every future choice facing policymakers struggling to limit emissions throws up trade-offs elsewhere.

The conventional wisdom is that planting trees will save us from the ever-encroaching threat of climate change.

The report, which synthesises information from some 7,000 scientific papers, found there is no way to keep global warming under 2℃ without significant reductions in land sector emissions.

Land is needed to absorb Carbon dioxide via forests and vegetation, but it is also needed for agriculture, something that creates competition and puts pressure on food security. Sustainable land management is needed The authors had the seemingly impossible task of assessing the impact of agriculture and deforestation on the climate and just as equally challenging, figuring out ways to mitigate the impact of the climate crisis.

At the same time, natural land processes absorb around a third of GHGs emitted by burning fossil fuels and industrial processes.

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Approximately 218 gigatonnes of carbon are stored in the tropical and subtropical forests of indigenous peoples and communities, with at least a third of this carbon in areas which lack formal recognition of their land rights, the statement read.

"The risk of deforestation and land degradation to food security has increased..." It has also negatively impacted floral development, meaning that the pollinators, bees and butterflies, that rely on that pollen are put in jeopardy by the climate crisis. Each report from a United Nations panel of scientists brings a warning about specific sources of carbon pollution as well as a wake-up call on how to fix them.

Not only does agriculture and its supply lines account for as much as 37 percent of all man-made emissions, current industrialised production and global food chains contribute to vast food inequality. Changing eating habits have contributed to around two billion adults being overweight or obese, while 821 million are undernourished, the scientists noted.

According to the report, between 25 percent and 30 percent of all food produced is never eaten.

"Diets that are rich in plant-based foods have lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that are heavy in red meat consumption, " said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an author and a researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NY. "We are using technologies and good practices, but they do need to be scaled up and used in other suitable places that they are not being used in now", Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I, explained.

But under all scenarios, one axiom held true: the higher the temperature, the higher the risk.

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- Since pre-industrial times, the land surface air temperature has risen almost twice as much as the global average temperature, intensifying heatwaves, reducing rainfall, especially in dryland areas, and increasing water evaporation rates.

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