THE INTERGOVERNMENTAL PANEL on Climate Change (IPCC) published its highly anticipated report on land use and climate change in Geneva, Switzerland, on Thursday.
The IPCC emphatically urges humanity to re-think its agriculture, forestry and other land use-related practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, allow soils and forests to regenerate and absorb carbon, and restore the ability of the land to sustain humanity.
“We need less pasture [for livestock] and more trees,” Piers Forster, a professor at the University of Leeds, summarised to The Guardian.
The measures proposed in the report, such as introducing new agricultural methods and shifting towards plant-based diets, would also promote human health, alleviate poverty and tackle the loss of wildlife around the world, according to the IPCC.
Anna Repo, a researcher at Natural Resources Institute Finland (Luke), said the measures can be divided into three categories: technical measures, such as adopting new agricultural and forest management practices; influencing value chains to, for example, promote a shift towards plant-based diets; and managing risks by, for example, adopting new warning systems and switching to crops that are more resistant to droughts.
“What’s smart depends on which part of the world it’s implemented in,” she added.
“The message is clear: rapidly increasing land use has intensified climate change,” stated Krista Mikkonen (Greens), the Finnish Minister of the Environment.
“Agriculture and forestry, alongside other land use, must be re-thought to be more sustainable all around the world, including in Finland. The measures laid out in the report that must be adopted quickly, deforestation must be curbed, carbon sinks must be increased and emissions from food production must be reduced – not to mention fostering biodiversity,” she said.
Mikkonen reminded that the government programme contains a number of concrete measures to reduce emissions from the land use sector. “It’s crucial that they are introduced without delay,” she stressed.
Forests and other vegetation mitigate climate change by absorbing approximately a third of all human-produced carbon dioxide emissions. Meanwhile, agriculture, forestry and other land use account for almost a quarter (23%) of all human-produced greenhouse gas emissions.
“Human activity today affects over 70 per cent of land area not covered by ice on Earth. Unless we succeed in reducing emissions in all sectors extremely rapidly, we’ll have to resort to land use-intensive solutions that may have considerable negative side-effects on, for example, adapting to climate change,” said Repo.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT
Source: Uusi Suomi