In all, it's about a quarter of all greenhouse emissions from all human activity worldwide. And the problem is getting more severe.
"New Zealand co-sponsored a proposal for a Special Report on Climate Change, Food and Agriculture in 2015". Farmers in these places will have to adapt to more intense weather patterns, droughts and floods, as well as their land decreasing in yield.
To date, the average surface air temperature over land has increased by about 1.5 degrees Celsius as compared to pre-industrial levels. Scientists also have called on the reduction of methane and other greenhouse gases that come from livestock.
"It's a very tough problem and for many countries that are already not food secure, hunger could become a much much larger issue", Ray said. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all fields is also essential. Europe, Southern Africa, South Asia and Australia are feeling the most negative impact of food production due to the climate crisis so far.
In fact, the report shows several ways that good land management can help reduce emissions while supporting adaptation to climate change and strengthening resilience and food security among vulnerable communities.
Expanding areas for agriculture and forestry, and increasing productivity, has supported consumption and food availability for a growing population, but also contributed to increasing GHG emissions, declining biodiversity and shrinking ecosystems such as forests, savannahs, grasslands and wetlands, the report states. Replanting of devastated forests will also help.
There are actions that can be taken, including large-scale tree-planting on previously unforested land and using the land to grow biofuels, present trade-offs because they threaten to compete with land for growing food crops.
Verchot continued, "But the important finding of this report, I think, is this additional gift from nature is limited". Now with this report there is recognition that how we have safeguarded our forests and lands benefits the entire world - but our rights to exist and manage these lands need to be strengthened.
Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.
The IPCC is the world's leading authority on climate change.
Allison, welcome to the studio. "We need to act urgently". How would shifting our own diets personally help make that happen?
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"So we use fertilizers which produce greenhouses gases", Lawrence explains.
Beef+Lamb New Zealand's chief insight officer Jeremy Baker said Aotearoa's meat farmers were different from most others and were increasingly climate friendly.
If food is everything we are, let's do everything we can now to preserve our connection to the past and secure the possibilities of our future. Pound for pound, whether it's cows or chickens, animals raised for food use more resources, space and water than plants.
"Land is a source of emissions as well as a sink", IPCC chair Hoesung Lee told AFP.
CORNISH: So are there certain types of meat that are better in terms of environmental footprint?
AUBREY: There are definitely better choices, and it does not have to be all or nothing. It takes less animal feed to produce meat from these animals.
"That means you are removing food calories for about 50 million people, that's already happening", said study author Deepak Ray, a senior scientist with the Institute on the Environment's Global Landscapes Initiative with the University of Minnesota.
CORNISH: Yeah. My mind is wrapping around that as you're saying it.
"It is estimated that globally some 1.3 billion tonnes of food is lost or wasted each year". Can reducing food waste affect this at all? They are solutions in the hands of each of us when we buy the food and we prepare food at home and we avoid wasting food, as well. I mean, it's estimated that the typical family in the US tosses out about $1,600 of groceries a year. It states that 25%-30% of total food produced now is either lost or wasted and that if this amount could be reduced, it could take some pressure off of the need to convert additional land for agriculture.
AUBREY: Thanks so much.
Allison, thanks for sharing this with us.