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Environment - IPCC calls on farmers to scale up ways of reducing livestock emissions
09 August 2019

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a special report on climate change and land, presenting its findings at an event in Geneva on August 8, reports Leatherbiz.

A total of 107 IPCC authors, representing 52 countries, contributed to the new report and, for the first time in an IPCC report, more than half the authors (53%) were from developing countries. They assessed around 7,000 scientific papers on the subjects such as land degradation, desertification, water scarcity, deforestation, wildfires, .

One important conclusion that the report draws is that climate change is making the “challenging situation” of the way the world manages land worse and is undermining food security.

At the Geneva event, co-chair of one of the IPCC’s working groups, Professor Jim Skea, said: “Land has a critical role to play in carbon dioxide removal because carbon builds up in soil.” On the subject of diet, he added that a reduction in food waste is something the world requires urgently because between 25% and 30% of all the food we produce is lost or wasted.

Professor Skea said that the authors’ analysis of the 7,000 scientific papers they had scrutinised suggests that diets that are high in grains, nuts and vegetables have a lower carbon footprint than those that are higher in meat and lead to better health outcomes. He added: “But dietary choices are influenced by local food production practices and cultural factors. We don’t make recommendations on people’s diets. We leave that to policy makers.”

Co-chair of another of the working groups, Dr Valérie Masson-Delmotte, made the point that methods already exist for helping farmers achieve a reduction in the “emissions intensity” of the impact of livestock. “There are multiple options for that,” she said, “including better grazing management, manure management, the quality of feed and so on.”

She said that, in the land sector, there is no need for “disruptive innovation”, adding: “The practices and technologies already exist. There are case studies that show they work. The challenge is to scale them up.”