In early August 2019, the authoritative IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), the United Nations organization responsible for scientific monitoring of climate change published its Special Report (SRCCL) on climate change, desertification, degradation soil, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas flows in terrestrial ecosystems.
The document is focused this year on the relationship between climate change and land use, and is therefore particularly relevant for understanding the effects of agriculture on the issue that today is most worrying for scholars on a systemic level.
The report, available and downloadable online, is accompanied by some excellent summary sheets, complete with extremely clear and punctual graphs and summaries.
It is obviously not possible to summarize in part all the factual elements contained in the 2019 Report. We therefore limit ourselves simply to indicating only some of the most striking points.
In fact, it appears that 23% of greenhouse gas emissions in the 2007-2016 period depend on the use of land for agricultural, forestry and related activities: this in a context of enormous agricultural development that since 1961 has increased its own production of 240% for food production and of 162% for textile fibers, in particular cotton.
However, between 25 and 30% of the food produced is lost or wasted, while changes in eating habits have led to 2 billion overweight or obese adults, while 821 million of human beings are still undernourished.
That highlights the insane contradiction between a level of enormous abundance for a rich minority of the planet and the scarcity for those who live outside privileged areas, where food are wasted or are consumed in an unhealthy way.
The report, in the light of these and other strident contradictions, shows textually that “sustainable land management can contribute to reducing the negative impacts of multiple stressors, including climate change, on ecosystems and societies“.
It is therefore a clear, documented and objective document highlighting that globalization has not at all extended our resources indefinitely: on the contrary, they are now clearly and forever limited and circumscribed.
For this reason, the imbalances produced by the expansive phase of the industrialization of the world must now be fought and resolved as quickly as possible: the physical survival and peace of all humanity is at stake.