U.N: Indigenous and women's rights can boost climate fight

Saturday, 10 Aug, 2019

While this new report is global in scope - and particularly focuses on desertification, land degradation, deforestation and agricultural practices - there are some important recommendations that can be applied in New England to help mitigate climate change. The report not only voices dire warnings for the future - but provides some possible fixes.

Speaking Thursday after the report was presented at the World Meteorological Organization's headquarters in Geneva, she added: "But all of us as volunteers are united in this cause of making sure that policymakers understand the risk to humans, to ecosystems, and to make sure those policymakers as well as citizens, my kids, people on the street, that they have options".

More than 500 million people now live in areas that already experience desertification or degradation, mostly in the world's poorest countries, which are also the most exposed to food insecurity.

Any delay in this - across industry, transport, agriculture and infrastructure - "would lead to increasingly negative impacts on land and reduce the prospect of sustainable development", its summary said. The answer is simple - better land management. Meat production is, currently, using 77% of the global agriculture land and the food system (both pre- and post-production activities) alone contributes 21-37% of total GHG emissions. Solutions include increasing land productivity, reducing food waste and encouraging meatless diets.

"This report sets out the scientific realities and makes it clear that we need political will and ambition from global leaders to deliver a new model of sustainable land use that protects human rights, livelihoods and the environment", said Juan Manuel Santos, Nobel peace laureate and former President of Colombia.

The paper is viewed as a key contribution to global negotiations on climate and environmental issues and is expected to be cited in September in India, at the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14), and in December in Chile at the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25).

At the same time, global food supply was also under threat due to climate change, it says. This, in turn, contributes to climate change, which then worsens land degradation. Deserts are growing larger, the Arctic's permafrost is thawing, and droughts are leaving our forests more vulnerable to fires, pests, and diseases.

DairyNZ chief executive Tim Mackle also welcomed the report in a statement this morning, saying it provided some valuable detail on the debate about climate.

All these events add to the degradation of the land.

The report was released by the Intergovernmental Panel of Climate Change. "We know that's very much a possibility".

More than 820 million people-1 out of every 9 people on the planet-go to bed hungry. Co-chair of another Working Group, Jim Skea, highlighted the fact that up to 30 percent of food produced globally, is simply lost or wasted. "That will likely get worse, especially in tropical and subtropical parts of the world", the report says. This can lead to more dust storms, think the Dust Bowl of 1930, and also increased global warming due to less carbon storage. Given how much land it takes to grow food to feed livestock, meat production is a leading cause of deforestation.

One of the panel's many suggestions was to reduce meat consumption and food waste to free up space to plant trees. How would shifting our own diets personally help make that happen? It states that 25%-30% of total food produced now is either lost or wasted and that if this amount could be reduced, it could take some pressure off of the need to convert additional land for agriculture.

"It's going to take political will, funding and cooperation", Sanjayan said. Though it hasn't come out with country-specific data, the IPCC scientists referred to various regional scientific studies which spoke about impact of climate change on food security in the form of less yield and price rise.