Header image: Large swaths of forest have been cut down in Brazil in recent decades to make room for farming. Deforestation contributes to global warming, and reversing it will be necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change. Image credit: Andre Penner/AP.
From NPR | August 8, 2019
Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.
The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane.
That’s important because methane is particularly good at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And the problem is getting more severe.
“Emissions from agricultural production are projected to increase,” the authors warn. “Delaying action” on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, they continue, “could result in some irreversible impacts on some ecosystems.”
This is the latest in a series of reports from the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The new report adds weight and detail to a warning put out by the same panel of scientists last fall, in which they sounded the alarm about the inadequacy of the pledges countries have made so far to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.