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GENEVA: August 08, 2019. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published the summary of its latest report Climate Change and Land following approval by governments.

The report was prepared by 107 authors from 52 countries and is the first in which the majority (53 percent) was from developing countries. The editorial team drew on contributions from 96 additional authors, included over 7,000 cited references in the report, and considered a total of 28,275 expert and government review comments.

The report concludes that while better land management can contribute to tackling the climate crisis, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if global warming is to be kept to well below 2C, if not 1.5C.

“Agriculture, forestry and other types of land use account for 23 percent of human greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time natural land processes absorb carbon dioxide equivalent to almost a third of carbon dioxide emissions from fossil fuels and industry,” said Jim Skea, co-chair of IPCC Working Group III.

Greenpeace Indoensia forest firesThe report notes the warming planet is affecting all four pillars of food security: availability (yield and production), access (prices and ability to obtain food), utilization (nutrition and cooking), and stability (disruptions to availability).

“Food security will be increasingly affected by future climate change through yield declines – especially in the tropics - increased prices, reduced nutrient quality, and supply chain disruptions,” said Priyadarshi Shukla, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III.

“We will see different effects in different countries, but there will be more drastic impacts on low- income countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean,” he said.

The report acknowledges that about one third of global food production is lost or wasted. Causes of food loss and waste differ substantially between developed and developing countries, as well as between regions. Reducing this loss and waste would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve food security.

With some 500 million people living in areas of increasing desertification who are more vulnerable to extremes of drought, heatwaves and dust storms, the report sets out options to tackle land degradation and examines potential impacts from different levels of planetary warming.

“New knowledge shows an increase in risks from dryland water scarcity, fire damage, permafrost degradation and food system instability, even for global warming of around 1.5°C,” said Valérie Masson-Delmotte, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I. “Very high risks related to permafrost degradation and food system instability are identified at 2C of global warming,” she added.

Policies that are outside the land and energy domains, such as on transport and environment, can also make a critical difference to tackling climate change, the report noted.

“There are things we are already doing. 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,” said Panmao Zhai, co-chair of IPCC Working Group I.

“There is real potential here through more sustainable land use, reducing over-consumption and waste of food, eliminating the clearing and burning of forests, preventing over-harvesting of fuelwood, and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, thus helping to address land related climate change issues,” he continued.

Pictured: Smoke rises during forest and plantation fires in Tanjung Taruna, Sub-district Jabiren Raya, District Pulang Pisau, Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Indonesia’s government has declared a state emergency in six provinces at Sumatra and Kalimantan island as the forest fires in Indonesia get bigger.(© Ulet Ifansasti / Greenpeace.)

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