9 August 2019
New IPCC report issues dire warning on impact of land use
Following their report from 2018 which set the dangers and timeline of climate change in a urgent, new light, the United Nation’s IPCC have released, in summary form, a new report on the impacts of land use and consumption of resources on climate change. The report, prepared by a group of over 100 experts from 52 countries, finds the impending threats of climate change considerable. With human use directly impacting more than 70% of the world’s ice-free land surface and plays a crucial role in the global climate system. People use somewhere between one quarter and one third of the available land surface for production of food, feed, fiber, timber, and energy, activities which represent a considerable drain on these resources and their longevity. Particularly damaging activities include the draining of wetlands, which release notable amounts of carbon dioxide when drained, representing one gigatonne of the total five gigatonnes of emissions released by land use and deforestation.
While the report lays out drastic consequences of continued, destructive land-use patterns ranging from draught and desertification to famine, the authors also suggest a measure of hope if societies are capable of addressing these patterns quickly and efficiently.