Giving Compass’ Take:
· In order to reduce the chances of exceeding a 2 degree Celsius increase in global temperature, the latest IPCC report suggests revolutionizing agricultural practices to reduce emissions and provide a greater food supply.
· How can donors invest in sustainable agriculture?
To tackle climate change, we’ll need to do more than eliminate emissions from power plants and cars. Humans now sprawl over more than 70% of the planet’s land surface (not counting the places that are still covered in ice). And what we do with land now—from how we grow crops to whether we keep forests standing—will determine whether we can avoid the worst impacts of climate change and what will happen to the food supply, says a new report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
“This report really underscores the importance and urgency of lands,” says Will Turner, senior vice president of global strategies at the nonprofit Conservation International. “What we do to protect and to restore land this generation will affect whether our children, and those they share the planet with, are going to suffer. . . . We can stop fossil fuel emissions tomorrow and still fail if the Amazon is cleared or Sumatra burns.”
More than 100 scientists looked at 7,000 studies to understand how human impacts on land are causing greenhouse gas emissions, how climate change is affecting our ability to produce food, and how changing what we do on farms and in forests can help fight climate change. They found that farming, forestry, and other human land use is responsible for 23% of global greenhouse gas emissions and that keeping global warming under 2 degrees Celsius will only happen if we reduce those emissions.
Some solutions are especially important. Protecting ecosystems that are already rich in carbon, like mangrove forests, rainforests, and peatlands, a type of carbon-filled wetland, is one key step. Unfortunately, many places are moving in the wrong direction: Deforestation in Brazil has surged 278% in the last year. Planting and restoring forests, as long as it happens in the right places and doesn’t interfere with food production, can sequester CO2 without waiting for the startups that are building the first carbon-sucking machines to scale up their technology. “Restoration of forests is the only technology that we have for absorbing CO2 that’s already in the atmosphere at scale,” says Turner.
Read the full article about transforming agriculture by Adele Peters at Fast Company.
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