A United Nations (UN) panel of expert has highlighted how the rise in global temperatures, linked to increasing pressures on fertile soil, is jeopardising efforts at ensuring food security for planet earth.
It warned that more than 500 million people today lived in areas affected by erosion linked to climate change, a United Nation’s panel of experts has warned.
The panel said on Thursday in a statement that the warning came in a Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) produced by its Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Geneva.
The panel, therefore, urged all countries to commit to sustainable land use to help limit greenhouse gas emissions before it became too late.
“Humans affect more than 70 per cent of ice-free land and a quarter is already degraded”, it quoted Valérie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of one of three Working Groups that contributed to the 1,200-page report as saying.
“Today 500 people live in areas that experience desertification.
“People living in already degraded or desertified areas are increasingly negatively affected by climate change,” Masson-Delmotte said.
Co-chair of another Working Group, Jim Skea, noted that up to 30 per cent of food produced “is simply lost or wasted”.
His statement came amid recent reports by the UN that more than 820 million people around the world were undernourished.
“In future, countries should consider all options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, including by growing plant-based fuels.
“Limiting global warming to 1.5 or even to decrease it will involve removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and forests have a critical role to play in carbon dioxide removal,” Skea added.
Photosynthesis removes carbon dioxide naturally – and trees are especially good at storing carbon removed from the atmosphere by photosynthesis.
Expanding forests, restoring existing forests and managing forests to encourage more carbon uptake can leverage the power of photosynthesis to convert carbon dioxide in the air into carbon stored in wood and soils.
Scientists say the carbon-removal potential for these measures in the U.S. alone is hundreds of millions of metric tons per year.
Every acre of land restored to temperate forest can sequester about 3 metric tons of CO2 per year.
These approaches can be relatively inexpensive (generally less than $50 per metric ton) and yield cleaner water and air in the process.