Climate Change and Land

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* Climate Change and Land. Summary for Policymakers. IPCC, 2019.


"IPCC Special Report on Climate Change, Desertification, Land Degradation, Sustainable Land Management, Food Security, and Greenhouse gas fluxes in Terrestrial Ecosystems. Summary for Policymakers. Approved Draft"


"This Special Report on Climate Change and Land1 responds to the Panel decision in 2016 to prepare three Special Reports2 during the Sixth Assessment cycle, taking account of proposals from governments and observer organizations. This report addresses greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes in land-based ecosystems , land use and sustainable land management4 in relation to climate change adaptation and mitigation, desertification, land degradation6 and food security. This report follows the publication of other recent reports, including the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C (SR15), the thematic assessment of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on Land Degradation and Restoration, the IPBES Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, and the Global Land Outlook of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD). This report provides an updated assessment of the current state of knowledge8 while striving for coherence and complementarity with other recent reports.

This Summary for Policymakers (SPM) is structured in four parts:

A) People, land and climate in a warming world; B) Adaptation and mitigation response options; C) Enabling response options; and D) Action in the near-term. "


Hazel Henderson:

"We applaud this magisterial work of so many scientists from around the world, willing to expose themselves to the reprisals of fossilized sectors and their PR , intellectual mercenaries, as well as science-deniers in financial markets still mis-investing in unsustainable sectors, including the agro-chemical industrial complex and industrial livestock-produced meat , highly processed junk foods and sugary drinks.

This IPCC report identifies all the stresses on our environment, now evident in 2019 on every continent on Earth, from the melting icebergs and glaciers to floods, fires, heatwaves and increasingly powerful hurricanes, typhoons, and tornadoes. The report focuses on land, suffering from droughts, floods and fires and how these effects of climate change are impacting the human food system worldwide. The visuals and charts synthesize all the cross-cutting information to show how all these Earth systems interact and how their interacting creates new feedbacks, most negative, some positive.

The bad news: one-quarter of Earth’s ice-free land area is subject to human-induced, anthropocentric degradation. The rate at which we are eroding soils (on which all our food is currently grown) is far higher than the rate at which soil is formed by natural processes. Climate change is exacerbating land degradation in low-lying coastal areas, river deltas, drylands and in permafrost areas. In 2015, about 500 million people lived within areas which experienced desertification between the 1990s and 2000s. (pg. 3). Frequency of dust storms and their intensity has increased due to unwise land use and degradation, affecting human health (pg. 6). The IPCC uses 2 global models: 1) to measure CO2 emissions from human sources, and 2) “carbon accounting“ to balance out these emissions with Nature’s efforts to capture ambient CO2 through photosynthesis by plants and trees and storing this carbon back into the Earth’s soils. (pg. 8).

The better news: the report shows future scenarios on how societies can mitigate climate change and its effects, and adapt to them, by initiating changes in their development directions, roughly consistent with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These 17 Goals, adopted by 195 nations in 2015, are the preferred new human development path and indicator beyond GDP.

While GDP is still driving societies over a cliff, with all its similar, narrow, money-denominated economic indicators: average inflation, unemployment, inequality, etc. (like flying over a country at 60,000 feet, seeing little detail), the SDGs are mostly science-based. Financial metrics are anthropocentric and based on money, like all the financial models and strategies reliant on all these bouncing currencies, so they are mis-investing in stranded 19th and 20th-century “assets” that have become liabilities! In computer terms, such bugs and errors in the conventional economic source code still drive operating systems in most markets.

Examine these future IPCC scenarios: Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) from now until 2100 (pg. 14). They include SSP 1 which sees humanity on a path toward 2100 which requires greater knowledge of Earth Systems Science, renewable energy, circular economies and shifts in cultures from competition to include more cooperation, reducing inequality and foresees human population stabilizing by 2100 at today’s level of 7.6 billion people.

All these changes require disruption of 19th and 20th-century industries, from phasing out fossil fuels, obsolete global gem mining ( lab-grown, cultured diamonds are competing at a fraction of the cost ), industrial livestock production, cutting meat consumption in favor of healthier plant-protein foods and beverages. All these science-based new sectors are expanding rapidly with many start-ups, some going public.

The IPCC scientists cannot advocate these kinds of political challenges to the status quo, but only layout humanity’s many viable options (pg. 25)." (email, August 2019)