The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s flagship report on the relationship between climate change and land use, puts a big question mark on the future of intensive, industrial agriculture.
Large-scale industrial meat production is highlighted as an inefficient use of land and major driver of deforestation. The report finds that farming approaches must change if runaway climate change and spiralling food insecurity are to be averted.
Teresa Anderson, ActionAid’s climate policy coordinator, says:
“The world’s leading scientists are clear – the way we produce food and manage land must change dramatically if we are to avert catastrophic climate change. Farming must work with nature, not against it.
“The IPCC’s land report puts a big question mark on the future of industrial agriculture. A major shift to farming methods that work with nature, reduce emissions, empower women farmers and improve resilience to the impacts of climate change, is now essential.
“It sends a stark warning that relying on harmful technologies such as bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, which would take up huge amounts of land, are at odds with our need to improve food security and protect our natural ecosystems.
“Rich, polluting countries cannot expect the Global South to give away swathes of farmland to clean up the climate mess.”
ActionAid works with farmers, particularly women, in more than 30 countries, supporting them to switch to farming methods that work with nature, increase biodiversity and avoid harmful chemicals that impact the environment. This approach improves resilience to climate change and reduces greenhouse gas emissions.
Agroecological techniques add organic matter to improve soil fertility, structure and the water carrying capacity of soils. This makes the soil less likely to be eroded and swept away by heavy rains or floods.
This approach encourages use of diverse crops, helping farmers spread risk and reduce losses. Diverse agricultural systems are also more resilient to natural disasters than monocultures and provide local food all year round.
Learn more about ActionAid’s work in agroecology:
- Agroecology: Making agriculture fit for purpose in an era of climate change
- CLARA case studies
- What I learned from farmers in The Gambia about resisting climate change