The state of the climate crisis on land and the urgent need to protect forests and shift our global food system to sustainability is expected to be laid bare in an upcoming authoritative UN report on Climate Change and Land.
Ahead of the IPCC session in Geneva, Greenpeace Africa Senior Forest Campaign Manager Irene Wabiwa Betoko said: “Sub-Saharan Africa is among the global hotspots experiencing unprecedented heatwaves and other extreme weather conditions. Millions on the continent are also confronted with the climate-related food crisis. These trends can only be averted with strong actions by governments around the world.
“African governments are particularly responsible for protecting the world’s second-largest rainforest and the world’s largest tropical peatlands complex, both located in the Congo Basin. Threatened by rapid deforestation, their protection is essential for the whole planet to store carbon and regulate the climate crisis”.
Greenpeace Germany forests and climate campaigner Dr Christoph Thies said: “This report comes at a critical juncture for our society and must be met with rapid government and business action to protect our forests and climate from destruction. Countries must urgently reduce emissions from land, especially from deforestation, and increase the uptake of carbon by restoring forests and other carbon-rich ecosystems.
“Land use and natural climate solutions need to be taken much more seriously because both rapid decarbonisation and land-use solutions will be needed to limit warming to 1.5C. Our forests are our future. Without them, we face the prospect of runaway climate change.”
The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to be published on August 8 in Geneva, Switzerland, is set to detail the devastating consequences human exploitation of nature is having on land, biodiversity, and ecosystems.
The IPCC report, the most comprehensive scientific assessment of climate change and land to date, is also expected to expose how the worsening climate crisis is increasingly threatening our food security and access to fresh water.
Dr Reyes Tirado, Senior Research Scientist, Greenpeace Research Laboratory, University of Exeter, said: “This is a crisis of our own making, but it’s also a crisis we can solve if we act now. The unprecedented impact we’re having on land is mostly driven through industrial agricultural expansion and meat production. After decades of overconsumption, our society needs to shift towards healthy, ecological, plant-based farming.
“In reality, that means a 50% cut of meat in our diets and higher drastic cuts of 70-90% in some countries in Western Europe or North America. This won’t be easy, but it is critical if we’re to reverse the devastation our current food system is having on ecosystems and communities around the world.”
Greenpeace is an accredited observer to the IPCC and a small delegation will be attending the 50th Session of the IPCC in Geneva from August 2-6 for the Consideration of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land.