Geneva (AP) - Around 820 million people worldwide are malnourished. On the other hand, there is a very high consumption of meat, which consumes a lot of land, and many foods are simply thrown away.
Supplying the growing world population with equitable food in a just manner is a huge challenge - and it will be even greater as a result of climate change. Agriculture needs land, but at the same time many forests are needed because they store the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide. "Food security and the protection of forests should be non-negotiable," says Charlotte Streck, co-founder of the Climate Focus think tank. A contradiction?
No, says Streck, the either / or game bothers her. Both are possible. The most important levers from their point of view: reduce meat consumption and accelerate the exit from fossil fuels. "Beef is particularly resource intensive. It takes 20 times as much land and produces 20 times as many greenhouse gases per gram of edible protein as plant proteins, such as beans, peas or lentils, "explains Streck. And the resource land is limited. In addition, according to the World Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one third of food is thrown away worldwide.
In all likelihood, these facts will also be highlighted in the Special Report of the IPCC, which will be published in Geneva on Thursday, focusing on land use and climate change.
The situation is difficult. The report could therefore also contain a sharp reminder to the world's population, politics and the economy. "At a time when we can least afford it, we are losing fertile soil and biodiversity at an alarming rate," United Nations Environment Program Chief Executive Unger Inger Andersen said on Friday's opening of the multi-day event IPCC session. "We need to adapt the use of our land to climate change so that we can ensure food production for today's and future generations."
A large international team of researchers has provided the IPCC with a very comprehensive analysis of current global knowledge on these issues in recent years. Political delegates from the IPCC member countries have been sitting in Geneva since Friday, discussing the summary of the analysis. The resulting report will be presented by the IPCC on Thursday. The one-week procedure should ensure that the IPCC Special Report is also recognized by the member states.
The fact that now at all over the role of the forests and the agriculture is discussed, evaluates expert Streck already as a large success. "The topic affects us directly, we see burning forests, a lot of pest infestation. The forest quality goes downhill, too, "says Streck, who attaches great importance to an exit from fossil fuels.
"The climate models are becoming increasingly savage, if we hold on to the fossil fuels and must identify more and more afforestation areas for compensation." So an end to fossil fuels would put much pressure out of the debate over possible land conflicts. Global carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, for example, would have to fall by 45 percent between 2010 and 2030, reaching zero by 2050, according to the latest IPCC report on the 1.5 degree target.
In addition to sustainable land management, issues such as drought, desertification, heat waves and floods will play a role in the report. The chairman of the IPCC, Hoesung Lee, emphasized last Friday especially the symbolic effect on the public, which could send the report. "I hope we can raise people's awareness of the dangers and challenges that climate change poses for the country we live and feed."