brown wheat field

According to an NPR article titled “To Slow Global Warming, U.N. Warns Agriculture Must Change,” a report by the U.N. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change came to the conclusion that changing agricultural practices would be necessary to combat climate change. This report is based on research that found that a third of greenhouse gas emissions, including nearly half of all methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, are the result of agriculture. The report specifically promoted the urgency of reducing the amount of land used for farming and the need for reforestation. To meet current climate change mitigation goals, total emissions will need to be reduced by nearly 50% over the next decade.

This report also provided broad solutions that countries could pursue. The report made it clear that reforestation and limitation of livestock will be necessary to reach this goal. The report also acknowledged that implementing many solutions to agricultural emissions could be difficult due to the scale of agriculture and the fact that people universally rely upon it. Over the next several decades, as the global population is projected to grow, even more than the current 50% of all vegetated land would need to be dedicated to agriculture under current agricultural practices. Regardless of how country’s choose to lower emissions from agriculture, it’s imperative that it be done.

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October 23, 2020 5:06 am

Mark, this is very compelling and it brought a new outlook on what is more essential to minimizing gas emissions that are currently contaminating the air we breathe and affecting the environment around us. I value the way you brought into consideration of how “difficult” it’s going to be to make the adjustment for climate change due to the “scale of agriculture” and the habits of the way people “rely on it”. After listening to the conversation between Rebecca Hersher and Allison Aubrey on NPR, do you think that changing the majority of human diets by limiting it down to a quarter-pound of red meat will significantly decrease potent emissions into our environment? If so what are some methods you would personally use to help encourage those that have meat as a big part of their diet?

Zoe
October 20, 2020 8:26 pm

This is really interesting, Mark. I am pretty passionate about climate action and I had no idea how much agriculture contributes to our global buildup of greenhouse gasses. I agree that reforestation is key to slowing this growing problem, as well as reducing livestock. I was shocked by the amount of land taken up because of this already, and it is crazy to think that “50% of all vegetated land would need to be dedicated to agriculture” in the future, like you said. An article (https://www.pnas.org/content/104/50/19691.short) I recently found discusses the necessary adaptations to agriculture we must make, as you mentioned. Thanks for writing, your research has provided me a new perspective on climate action to learn about!

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