On Friday, August 2, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) convened in Geneva, Switzerland to go over the current draft IPCC report on how climate change affects agriculture. IPCC is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change and has published Assessment Reports on climate change since it was established in 1988. The reports are essential to policymakers taking action on climate change. This year’s special report was scheduled to be released on Thursday, August 8, but a draft summary was leaked before the full report was reviewed, edited and approved by the plenary. The report’s title is “Climate Change and Land” and its message is a strong one: if we don’t stop land degradation and start sustainable land management our food security is in serious jeopardy. The report is a clear mandate to change how we grow and produce food if we are to maintain safe levels of global temperatures.
The assessment should come as no surprise. Research has shown irreputedly that industrial agricultural farms for the purposes of meat consumption are responsible for half the planet’s methane emissions — and methane is the second major greenhouse gas after carbon dioxide. Other sources of methane are rice paddies which emit as much as 500 million tons of methane, around 20% of total manmade emissions of methane. Continued deforestation and the destruction of peat lands will spike carbon emission levels the IPCC warns. Mankind needs to adopt aplant-based diet climate scientists gathered in Geneva stressed.
This is the first IPCC report in which a majority of the authors are from developing countries. The largest climate summit is planned for late 2020 where 190 nations will come together for the first time since the Paris climate accord in 2015. It will be the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 26) expected to take place from 9-19 November 2020, at a location to be determined.