IPCC Special Report on Land


The report not only voices dire warnings for the future - but provides some possible fixes. That report, which cited data from the IPCC, said the impact of climate change may vary from country to country, with some countries' economies decreasing from projected levels while others increase. "All of those things have carbon, and sometimes I think we don't recognize the impact of losing pieces of land that have the ability to sequester carbon".

About 500 million people live in areas that experienced desertification between the 1980s and 2000s, the report said.

The conventional wisdom is that planting trees will save us from the ever-encroaching threat of climate change. Extreme weather, more intense droughts and floods, and rising temperatures will have negative impact on agricultural production. The answer is simple - better land management.

The report did not only focus on appropriate choices in terms of what to eat, but called for a decrease in food waste, which it says accounts for a significant percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Desertification of agricultural lands in India is getting worse, and this will have implications for the whole world.

"We need to look at how we can reduce emissions from land and how we can use it to cause carbon removal", Joanna House, one of the report's lead authors and a reader in environmental science and policy at the University of Bristol, told Al Jazeera.

However, action now to allow soils and forests to regenerate and store carbon, and to cut meat consumption by people and food waste, could play a big role in tackling the climate crisis, the report says. "Sustainable land management can help secure a future that is comfortable". Think about that statement for a minute.

Climate change is already having a major impact on the land. Climate change has also added to the forces that have reduced the number of species on Earth.

All these events add to the degradation of the land. "At the same time, natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry".

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The Sharjah-based daily noted that NASA climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a co-author of the United Nations report, suggests that 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 percent of current emissions by mid-century.

He said DairyNZ was fully behind playing its part on climate change and supporting farmers to take action, but that the industry organisation needed more time to fully digest the report.

The report highlights that land is both a source and a sink of greenhouse gases (GHGs). "We know that's very much a possibility".

Above 2 C, there will be sustained disruptions in food supplies all around the world, widespread increases in wildfire damage and detectable losses of soil and vegetation that can be attributed to climate change. Here's Valerie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of one of the IPCC's working groups. Some climates will see more flooding, more snow, more moisture in the air, which will also limit what can be grown. I mean, it's estimated that the typical family in the US tosses out about $1,600 of groceries a year. Increased global warming since the Industrial Revolution has lead to more frequent, longer and harsher droughts in much of the world, including the Mediterranean, parts of Asia, South America and much of Africa.

"Such large transitions pose profound challenges for sustainable management of the various demands on land for human settlements, food, livestock feed, fibre, bioenergy, carbon storage, biodiversity and other ecosystem services", the authors wrote at the time.

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 percent of current emissions by mid-century. How would shifting our own diets personally help make that happen?

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

"It's going to take political will, funding and cooperation", Sanjayan said.