Land and climate change, explained: What the new IPCC report says, why it matters -Amitabh Sinha
-The Indian Express
This is the first time that the IPCC, whose job it is to assess already-published scientific literature to update our knowledge of climate change science, has focused its attention solely on the land sector.
Pune: A new report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released Thursday presents the most recent evidence on how the different uses of land — forests, agriculture, urbanisation — are affecting and getting affected by climate change.
The Geneva-based IPCC is the United Nations body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was created “to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments on climate change, its implications and potential future risks, as well as to put forward adaptation and mitigation options”.
The land-climate link
Land use, and changes in land use, have always been an integral part of the conversation on climate change. That is because land acts as both the source as well as a sink of carbon.
Activities like agriculture and cattle rearing, for example, are a major source of methane and nitrous oxide, both of which are hundreds of times more dangerous than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas.
At the same time, soil, trees, plantations, and forests absorb carbon dioxide for the natural process of photosynthesis, thus reducing the overall carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere.
This is the reason why largescale land use changes, like deforestation or urbanisation, or even a change in cropping pattern, have a direct impact on the overall emissions of greenhouse gases.
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