Reduce meat consumption to curb global warming — U.N. report
Marje Pelayo • August 9, 2019 • 1489
Global meat consumption must fall to curb global warming, reduce growing strains on land and water and improve food security, health and biodiversity, a United Nations report on the effects of climate change concluded on Thursday (August 8).
Although the report stopped short of explicitly advocating going meat-free, it called for big changes to farming and eating habits to limit the impact of population growth and changing consumption patterns on stretched land and water resources.
Plant-based foods and sustainable animal-sourced food could free up several million square kilometers of land by 2050 and cut 0.7-8.0 gigatonnes a year of carbon dioxide equivalent, the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said.
The IPCC met this week in Geneva, Switzerland to finalize its report which should help to guide governments meeting this year in Chile on ways to implement the 2015 Paris Agreement.
Land can be both a source and sink of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas blamed for global warming, and better land management can help in tackling climate change, the IPCC said.
But it is not the only solution and cutting emissions from all sectors is essential to quickly curtailing global warming.
Since the pre-industrial era, the land surface air temperature has risen by 1.53 degrees Celsius, twice as much as the global average temperature (0.87C), causing more heatwaves, droughts, and heavy rain, as well as land degradation and desertification.
Human use directly affects more than 70% of the global, ice-free land surface and agriculture accounts for 70% of freshwater use, the IPCC added in the report.
Agriculture, forestry and other land use activities accounted for 23% of total net man-made greenhouse gas emissions during 2007-2016. When pre- and post-production activity in the food system are included, that rises to up to 37%.
Last year the IPCC’s first special report warned that keeping the Earth’s temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit), rather than the 2C target agreed under the Paris accord, required rapid change across society.
The IPCC warned of more disruption to global food chains as extreme weather becomes more frequent due to climate change and said environmental costs should be factored into food.
It projects a median increase of 7.6% in cereal prices by 2050, meaning higher food prices and an increased risk of hunger.
While an estimated 821 million people are undernourished, changing consumption habits have already contributed to about 2 billion adults being overweight or obese.
While forests can soak up heat-trapping gases from the atmosphere, desertification and deforestation can amplify warming due to the loss of vegetation cover and soil erosion.
Measures to cut emissions, such as the production of biofuels, biochar – made from biomass – as well as planting trees, will also increase demand for land conversion.
Reducing deforestation and forest degradation could result in a reduction of 0.4-5.8 gigatonnes of CO2 equivalent, the report said. (REUTERS)
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will join the United Nations (UN) General Assembly beginning Tuesday (September 22) where he will address more than 190 state and government leaders.
Due to the pandemic, the said gathering of leaders will be held online for the first time coinciding with the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.
This is also the first time President Duterte will participate in the said assembly that will end on September 26.
According to Chief of Presidential Protocol Robert Borje, the President will deliver his speech at the high-level general debate Tuesday night in the Philippines.
The Chief Executive will be the 12th among the 14 speakers set to speak at the UN-GA morning session.
“This will be the President’s first time to address the UN General assembly, the main deliberative organ of the UN where all the 193 member states are represented,” Borje said.
The President will be able to cover several issues in his speech including the maritime dispute in the South China Sea as well as issues on human rights and justice in the country to which his controversial war on drugs campaign is related.
“President Duterte will article principal positions of the Philippines on a wide range of issues. I do not want to pre-empt the President, but these are of key importance to the country,” Borje said.
Borje identified the main points Duterte is expected to raise during the assembly which include: global response to the coronavirus pandemic; peace and security including terrorism, geo political developments in the Asia Pacific; sustainable development and climate change; rule of law; justice and human rights including the situation of migrant workers and refugees; peace-keeping; and United Nations reforms. MNP (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
Climate change still remains as urgent as ever amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, according to the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Roy Cimatu.
“It is like the COVID-19 emergency, just in slow motion and much graver,” Cimatu said on Wednesday (July 22).
The DENR also said climate change have a multiplier effect which would lead to other problems, from ecosystem stability to food production and human conflict.
“Deforestation disrupts weather patterns and the water cycle, contributes to climate change, and destroys the habitats of important species. Chemicals and waste are polluting the air, soil and water, killing millions each year,” the department said in a statement.
Cimatu said major environmental protection programs like solid waste management, reforestation and biodiversity conservation, must be consistent with the overall response to COVID-19, future pandemics and climate crisis.
“The government—through the Cabinet Cluster on CCAM-DRR—will prioritize actions and investments that will reduce long-term health impacts and increase our resilience and adaptive capacity to both the coronavirus pandemic and climate change,” he said.
Coronavirus support to poor countries has been so far “grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock said on Thursday (July 16) as he asked wealthy countries for billions more dollars in assistance.
The United Nations increased its humanitarian appeal by more than a third to $10.3 billion to help 63 states, mainly in Africa and Latin America, tackle the spread and destabilizing effects of the coronavirus. This is up from the world body’s initial $2 billion request in March, then $6.7 billion in May.
So far, Lowcock said, the United Nations has only received $1.7 billion.
“The message to the G20 is step up now or pay the price later,” Lowcock told reporters.
Finance ministers from the Group of 20 major economies will meet virtually on Saturday (July 18).
The coronavirus has infected at least 13.6 million people and there have been more than 584,000 known deaths worldwide, according to a Reuters tally. The United Nations has warned that if action is not taken, the pandemic and associated global recession will trigger an increase in global poverty for the first time since 1990 and push 265 million people to the brink of starvation.
“The response so far of wealthy nations, who’ve rightly thrown out the fiscal and monetary rule books to protect their own people and economies, the response that they’ve made to the situations in other countries has been grossly inadequate and that’s dangerously shortsighted,” Lowcock said.
Lowcock added he had lobbied U.S. lawmakers for funding earlier this week. A House of Representatives committee has proposed $10 billion in international aid. So far, Congress has provided $2.4 billion in emergency foreign aid.
In May, China’s President Xi Jinping pledged $2 billion to help deal with the coronavirus and economic and social development in affected countries, especially developing states.
Lowcock said he would “very much welcome it if some significant proportion of those resources could be used directly to support the global humanitarian response plan.” (Reuters)
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