IPCC Report Shows Food System Overhaul Needed to Save the Climate

IPCC Report Shows Food System Overhaul Needed to Save the Climate

SOURCE: Inside Climate News DATE: August 8, 2019 SNIP: Negotiators for the world’s governments signed off on a report Wednesday that describes in alarming detail how agriculture, deforestation and other human impacts on lands are transforming the climate. The report, from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), shows the urgent need to overhaul the global food system to help control climate-warming emissions. Written by more than 100 scientists from around the globe, it takes an unprecedented look at the impacts of climate change on lands and the effects of land use on the climate. The authors say that the entire food production system, with transportation and packaging included, accounts for as much as 37 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions, and that better land use, less-meat-intensive diets and eliminating food waste should be global priorities, crucial to the immediate, all-out effort needed to forestall a climate catastrophe. “There’s no doubt the window is closing rapidly,” said Pamela McElwee, one of the report’s authors and a professor of human ecology at Rutgers University. “That’s a key message of this...
Climate Change Is Taking a Bigger Toll on Our Food, Water, and Land Than We Realized

Climate Change Is Taking a Bigger Toll on Our Food, Water, and Land Than We Realized

SOURCE: Mother Jones DATE: August 8, 2019 SNIP: As the planet warms, parts of the world face new risks of food and water shortages, expanding deserts, and land degradation, warns a major new report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Those effects are already underway, and some of them could soon become irreversible. The changing climate has already likely contributed to drier climates in South and East Asia, North Africa, and the Middle East, reducing the food and water supply. In 2015, about 500 million people lived in dry areas that experienced desertification in recent decades as a result of human activities. Those problems are only going to get worse as climate change continues to take its toll. “Global warming has led to shifts of climate zones in many world regions, including expansion of arid climate zones and contraction of polar climate zones,” the IPCC says in the report, released Thursday. With high confidence, it adds, “Climate change has already affected food security due to warming, changing precipitation patterns, and greater frequency of some extreme events.” The new report focuses on land, which covers 30 percent of the Earth’s surface and is warming nearly twice as fast as the planet...
July Was the Hottest Month in Human History

July Was the Hottest Month in Human History

SOURCE: Rolling Stone DATE: August 1, 2019 SNIP: July 2019 is now the hottest month in recorded history, the U.N. confirmed on Thursday. At a press conference in New York, U.N. Secretary General António Guterres announced that the month of July had reached 1.2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, a figure that “at least equaled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history,” according to data released by the World Meteorological Organization. Temperature information from July is still streaming in, but preliminary data show last month’s warmth is roughly on par, or perhaps slightly warmer than the previous record of July 2016. In cities and towns around the world, record high temperatures outpaced record low temperatures on nearly a 3-to-1 basis during July, underscoring the fact that this crisis is being felt almost everywhere, by almost everyone. But there’s an added madness to this crisis. In its annual Statistical Review of World Energy released a few weeks ago, the global oil giant BP confirmed that in 2018 the world burned the most fossil fuels of any year in history. In short: Our addiction to fossil fuels is getting worse and worse even as the planet gets hotter and hotter. The world’s current climate policies point to an unlivable future. Scientists are increasingly convinced that if warming rises above 1.5 degrees, cascading ecological and meteorological tipping points could threaten the stability of human civilization. The current level of action, if sustained, would result in global warming of about 3.3 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, and surpass 1.5 degrees as soon as 2030. The new record is...
The terrible truth of climate change

The terrible truth of climate change

SOURCE: The Monthly DATE: August 1, 2019 SNIP: When the IPCC’s fifth assessment report was published in 2013, it estimated that such a doubling of CO2 was likely to produce warming within the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C as the Earth reaches a new equilibrium. However, preliminary estimates calculated from the latest global climate models (being used in the current IPCC assessment, due out in 2021) are far higher than with the previous generation of models. Early reports are predicting that a doubling of CO2 may in fact produce between 2.8 and 5.8°C of warming. Incredibly, at least eight of the latest models produced by leading research centres in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada and France are showing climate sensitivity of 5°C or...
No Climate Event in 2,000 Years Compares to What’s Happening Now

No Climate Event in 2,000 Years Compares to What’s Happening Now

SOURCE: The Atlantic DATE: July 24, 2019 SNIP: Absolutely nothing resembling modern-day global warming has happened on Earth for at least the past 2,000 years, a new study published today in Nature confirms. Never once until the Industrial Revolution did temperatures surge in the same direction everywhere at the same time. They’re doing so now, the study finds. Drawing on a huge database of climate-recording objects from all over the world—including tree rings, cave formations, and ancient pollen trapped in lake mud—the study concludes that 98 percent of Earth’s surface experienced its hottest period of the past 2,000 years within living memory. That uniform heat spike “is unprecedented over the Common Era,” it says. This latest finding may not surprise most climate scientists, who suspect that the planet is as hot now as it’s ever been in at least the past 125,000 years. But it may shock some politicians, who have downplayed modern-day climate change by talking about those past shifts. “The climate has always been changing. There has never been a time when the climate has not changed,” said Senator Marco Rubio at a Republican presidential debate in 2016. To which the study replies: Sure. It just hasn’t changed like...