Global Vegan Diet Can Stop Climate Change, Says New Report

12 Août, 2019, 20:08 | Auteur: Therese Cote
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"The choices we make about sustainable land management can help reduce, and in some cases, reverse these adverse impacts", said Kiyoto Tanabe, Co-Chair of the Task Force on National Greenhouse Gas Inventories.

Dietary changes, featuring plant-based foods and sustainable animal-sourced food, could free up several million square kilometers of land by 2050 and potentially cut 0.7-8.0 gigatons a year of carbon dioxide equivalent, the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in the report.

Land is coming under more and more pressure from human use, says the 'Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land' (SRCCL), prescribing that greenhouse gas emissions from land and food will have to be reduced if the world aims to restrict global warming to the targeted below-2-degree Celsius.

Werner Kurz, a senior research scientist at Natural Resources Canada and one of two Canadians among 108 scientists who co-authored the report, said he doesn't think most people understand the magnitude and pace of climate change, but he also said he believes reports like Thursday's must be used to deliver potential solutions, not just nightmares.

The report text is prepared by over 100 scientists but has to be approved by governments. "This is the first time in IPCC report history that a majority of authors - 53% - are from developing countries", Hoesung Lee, chair of the IPCC, was quoted as saying in the release. This report should be a wakeup call for African governments to take decisive action in addressing the knock-on effect of climate change, land dispossession and fossil fuel extraction and use.

Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for 23% of total net man-made greenhouse gas emissions during 2007-2016. "At the same time, natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry".

When land is degraded, it becomes less productive, restricting what can be grown and reducing the soil's ability to absorb carbon.

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Such warming has caused more heat-waves, droughts and heavy precipitation, as well as land degradation and desertification.

"This transformation will not be easy", said Steiner, "but it is necessary and it is possible".

By contributing to desertification and land degradation, the climate crisis is seriously threatening land ecosystems, biodiversity and global food security.

Limiting global warming to 1.5 or even 2 degrees will involve removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and land has a critical role to play in carbon dioxide removal.

Current levels of global warming are amplified by increased water scarcity, soil erosion, vegetation loss, wildfire damage, permafrost thawing, coastal degradation and crop yield declines, says the report.

The body said without near-term action, the ability of land to help mitigate climate change would be lost as it suffers under a changing climate and from growing demands (e.g., growing population, food security and bioenergy).

Proposals to combat the crisis include increasing the productivity of land, wasting less food and shifting the human diet away from cattle and other types of resource-intensive meat. Working to eliminate food waste and eating a balanced diet are essential to reducing emissions from our food system, according to the report.

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