Published: Sat, August 10, 2019
Health Care | By Cedric Leonard

Diet a major factor in global warming

Diet a major factor in global warming

It would also make people more healthy, Rosenzweig said.

To date, Ottawa and the provinces have taken only modest steps to reduce carbon emissions; it is a long shot that Canada will hit the targets it set in the Paris Agreement. "How we use land for human activity, from farming to construction and industry, is critical to tackling climate change and protecting our planet's biodiversity".

Plus, the sooner we act, the sooner we can reap benefits like cleaner air and water, greater food security, lower rates of poverty and better community resilience, they say.

"Underlying this report is the fact that a relatively small number of giant meat, agribusiness and biofuel companies are responsible for the bulk of deforestation and other climate pollution in the agriculture sector", said Glenn Hurowitz, CEO of global campaign group Mighty Earth.

"This is a flawless storm".

In addition, a population boom amongst humans has expanded consumption of food, wood, energy, and more.

Associate Professor Anita Wreford, of Lincoln University, said the report was highly relevant to New Zealand as it grappled for trade-offs with reducing emissions - around half of which were contributed by agriculture. However, India - and other countries - could do well to pay heed to the IPCC report's recommendations on curbing land degradation and soil erosion by improving knowledge systems.

"Land and soils are being lost or degraded and climate change is further exacerbating the pressure on land - that's the challenging news".

About a quarter of the Earth's ice-free land area is subjected to what the report describes as "human-induced degradation".

Land also accounted for 44% of methane emissions, with livestock such as cattle and expansion of rice paddies driving rising levels of the gas, and 82% of nitrous oxide emissions, coming from fertilisers for crops and from livestock.

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The text, written by more than 100 scientists from around the world, said that one of the key ways in which food production could be affected is by extreme weather events.

Emissions relating to fertilisers have risen ninefold since the early 1960s. Parts of Africa, high mountain regions of Asia and South America are already experiencing these issues, according to the report.

"It is estimated that globally some 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year".

The report recommends strong action from governments and business, including ending deforestation and enabling new forests to grow, reforming farming subsidies, supporting small farmers and breeding more resilient crops. The report follows an October 2018 IPCC Special Report: Global Warming of 1.5 °C.

The problem is that since 1961, per capita meat production has more than doubled.

The science panel said they aren't telling people what to eat because that's a personal choice. "But you could incentivise".

Adopting these kinds of changes for people around the world could free up several million square kilometers of land and reduce carbon emissions by up to 8 gigatonnes annually by 2050, according to the report. Previous studies have suggested meat taxes, or subsidised fruit and vegetables.

"With diets with less meat, you're not only getting reductions in methane and nitrous oxide emissions from livestock and the fertilizer to grow the feed for them", Cynthia Rosenzweig, a coordinating lead author of the report and senior research scientist and head of the Climate Impacts Group at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NY, said at the briefing. EURACTIV's partner edie.net reports. We do not have to wait for some sort of new technological innovation. "It's not going to continue forever", said study co-author Luis Verchot, a scientist at the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia.

"Diets that are rich in plant-based foods have lower greenhouse gas emissions than diets that are heavy in red meat consumption, " said Cynthia Rosenzweig, an author and a researcher at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in NY.

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