Radical land management shift needed to tackle climate crisis – IPCC

8th August 2019

Shutterstock 1271673961

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Food and drink ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Wildlife & Habitats ,
  • Global


James Dixon

Humanity must radically overhaul the way it manages land and consumes food in order to avoid environmental disaster, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has warned.

In a report published today, IPPC scientists from over 50 countries offer the most comprehensive assessment of the link between climate breakdown and land management.

They warn that humans must shift away from large-scale industrial agriculture and eliminate food waste to avoid disaster, and reduce meat consumption, end deforestation and restore ecosystems too.

The report also explains how exceeding 1.5ÀöC of global warming above pre-industrial levels would most likely exacerbate food insecurity, poverty, migration and conflict.

WWF's IPCC lead, Dr Stephen Cornelius, said: “This report sends a clear message that the way we use land is contributing to climate change while undermining its ability to support people and nature.

“A shift to sustainable land management must be accompanied by the necessary rapid and deep cuts to fossil fuel emissions if we are to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement. Action on one alone is not enough.“

The food sector is responsible for 75% of deforestation worldwide, releasing carbon into the atmosphere while contributing to unprecedented biodiversity loss and land degradation.

At the same time, farmers are already seeing their productivity and revenues take a hit due to more frequent droughts, floods, heat waves and wildfires, with some unable to adapt.

Failure to limit global warming is likely to worsen existing risks and increase desertification, decrease crop and livestock productivity and reduce the nutrient content of plants, according to the report.

This comes after separate research released earlier this week showed that the top 10 most food insecure countries generate just 0.08% of global carbon emissions.

The IPCC scientists said that efforts to mitigate climate change and nature loss must go hand-in-hand, and be fully integrated with adaptation and food security considerations.

“Delayed action will increase the risk of climate change impacts on food security – those most at risk are the world's poorest, Cornelius continued.

“Early action to address the climate crisis has the potential to provide multiple co-benefits across the whole range of land challenges, with many options contributing positively to sustainable development and other societal goals.

Image credit: Shutterstock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Majority of environmental professionals fear green skills gap

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close