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Thursday, Oct 17, 2019

Climate change: Heading towards emptier plates

The 2016 Paris Agreement said it would “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change.

india Updated: Aug 09, 2019 08:46 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Greenpeace activists hold a banner in front of the United Nations before a news conference by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), after its 50th session ends in Geneva, Switzerland August 8, 2019.
Greenpeace activists hold a banner in front of the United Nations before a news conference by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), after its 50th session ends in Geneva, Switzerland August 8, 2019. (REUTERS)
         

On the ground, climate change is hitting us where it counts: the stomach. Without drastic changes in our diets, farming techniques and how we use land we will not be able to win the battle against climate change, according to a UN report.

PARIS REDLINE ALREADY BREACHED

Average land temperature has already crossed the 1.5° Celsius redline mentioned in the Paris Agreement (although that was for global temperature, which is land and sea temperatures), according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report on climate change and land.

The 2016 Paris Agreement said it would “pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, recognising that this would significantly reduce the risks and impacts of climate change”.

Thursday’s report, however, suggested that land temperatures have already risen 1.53°C and global temperatures by 0.87 °C.

500 million people lived in areas that experienced desertification between the 1980s and 2000s.

30% of total food produced globally is lost or wasted (estimated).

DRASTIC CHANGES: A PITCH FOR VEGETARIANISM

The report sees plant-based diets as key to deal with climate change — and also recommends that everyone eat less meat, especially red meat.

33% of current emissions can be saved by reducing red meat consumption and better farming practice, scientists said.

Shift in diet: If people change their diets, reducing red meat and increasing plant-based foods, the world can save as much as another 15% of current emissions by mid-century

Better farming: Techniques like no-till agricultural and better targeted fertilizer application can reduce carbon pollution up to 18% of current emissions levels by 2050, the report said.

INDIA VULNERABLE

29% of land in India undergoing desertification and land degradation in 2011-13.

Jharkhand, Rajasthan, Delhi, Gujarat and Goa have more than 50% of land area undergoing desertification and land degradation. Kerala, Assam, Mizoram, Haryana, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Arunachal Pradesh have less than 10% land degradation.

EXPENSIVE, SCARCER, LESS NUTRITIOUS

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report says climate change is already making food more expensive, scarcer and less nutritious. “The threat of climate change affecting people’s food on their dinner table is increasing,” Nasa climate scientist Cynthia Rosenzweig, a report co-author.

Fall in nutrients: Studies show that the high levels of carbon dioxide reduce protein and nutrients in many crops. For example, high levels of carbon in the air show wheat has 6 to 13% less protein, 4 to 7% less zinc and 5 to 8% less iron, Rosenzweig said.

First Published: Aug 09, 2019 08:08 IST

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