VANCOUVER — A special report released this week by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change sends a clear message that we must do all we can to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and protect natural systems that sequester carbon. The report, Climate Change and Land, concludes that the ways in which we grow, process and distribute food, and manage forests, is causing close to a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions and that protecting and restoring natural landscapes will help absorb excess carbon dioxide.
Land-use practices have implications for water supply, food security, desertification, drought, soil erosion and degradation and climate, according to the report.
“All levels of government must take action to make sure Canadians don’t struggle to afford food and to ensure our communities and food and water supplies remain safe while protecting ecosystems and forests,” David Suzuki Foundation Science and Policy Director Ian Bruce said. “Sweeping changes to climate from the buildup of heat-trapping emissions — including drought, fire, floods and extreme weather — will mean severe risks to food security and human health, direct threats to our families and communities and a hit to our economy, unless governments act now.”
Research by the Foundation shows that protecting natural assets such as forests, wetlands and peatlands helps reduce the risks of climate disruption by sequestering carbon, and offers benefits like water filtration, erosion control, flood reduction and more.
“Many land-related responses that contribute to climate change adaptation and mitigation can also combat desertification and land degradation and enhance food security,” the report says.
The Foundation agrees with many of the report’s solutions, including reducing meat production and consumption, protecting and restoring forests and other green spaces, enhancing green infrastructure, relying on ecosystem-based management approaches, and shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy.
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