The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sees threats to food security and calls for immediate action before it is too late. Researchers agree that climate change – including the increasing land use – is possibly one of the greatest threats and one of the biggest challenges facing our society. The global economy is currently unable to cope with the challenge of sustainably feeding the growing population and at the same time protecting the climate. For this reason, IPCC published a special report and calls for a radical change in land use.
The report covers challenges such as desertification, land degradation, food security and impacts of climate change on greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes from terrestrial ecosystems. The main focus of the report is particularly on the entire chain of food production and consumption. According to the IPCC, the “human use directly affects more than 70 % of the global, free land surface” and agriculture and forestry account for around 23 % of GHG. Researchers of the IPCC report that “human activities” have led to depleted soils, the expansion of deserts, the disappearance of forests and the drainage of peatlands. In particular, the production and the increasing consumption of red meat – primarily beef and pork – is extremely problematic for the global climate, as methane gas is emitted by the masses of animal feed that have to be produced.
Researchers of the IPCC hope that the issue of land use will become more in the focus of international negotiations on the climate crisis and demand appropriate support and collaboration of multiple stakeholders at all scales to enable land-related adoption and mitigation to climate change.