Agriculture threatening climate tipping point: IPCC leak

The growing intensity of global agriculture is threatening irreversible damage to the climate but also food security, a leaked copy of a major international report on climate change says,

A final draft of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (I.P.C.C.) report has been obtained by the UK's Sky News a week ahead of its official release and as discussions on its final shape take place in Geneva, Switzerland.

The report warns that human exploitation of the planet is past the point of becoming unsustainable.

A doubling of meat consumption since 1961 has increased methane emissions 70 per cent while the increasing use of land for biofuel is robbing the earth of productive land for crops, potentially threatening food security, Sky reported.

Agriculture and forestry now accounts for almost a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions.

The report reportedly states land should be storing more carbon, through replanting and restoration of forests.

The I.P.C.C would not comment on the leaked report, telling the TV channel that even final drafts "are collective works in progress that do not necessarily represent the IPCC's final assessment of the state of knowledge.”

This week, the I.P.C.C is considering the report and the approved Summary for Policymakers scheduled for release on the 8th of August. 

Opening the meeting in Switzerland, the panel’s chair, Hoesung Lee, said the report address all three United Nations conventions: climate, biodiversity and desertification.

“I hope this report will raise awareness among all people about the threats and opportunities posed by climate change to the land we live on and which feeds us,” said Mr. Lee.

“Our report recognises the nexus of these global challenges and demonstrates the broad policy relevance of the IPCC’s work.”

The Panel kicked off the report in February 2017, and has been written by 107 experts from 52 countries.

It covers land and climate interactions, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.

Finally it covers risk management and decision making for sustainable development based on the report’s findings.

 “The soil underneath our feet is one of humanity’s most precious assets,” United Nations Environment Program executive director Inger Andersen said. 

“And at a time when we can least afford it, we are losing fertile soil and biodiversity at an alarming rate.”

Ms. Andersen said land degradation costs 10 per cent of global economic output each year, affecting over three billion people worldwide. 

“The world is off track to meet most food and agriculture related sustainable development goals," she said. 

“We need to adapt our land use to climate change so we can secure food production for present and future generations"


The I.P.C.C. was created in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (W.M.O) and the United Nations Environment Programme (U.N.E.P) into order to give government’s scientific information for climate policies. 

I.P.C.C. reports are also used in international climate change negotiations.

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