IPCC Special Report Released: Climate Change and Land-Summary for Policymakers

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“Ethical Markets offers this instant review of the key takeaways in the new IPCC report “CLIMATE CHANGE AND LAND”, just released.

We applaud this magisterial work of so many scientists from around the world, willing to expose themselves to the reprisals of fossilized sectors and  their  PR , intellectual mercenaries, as well as science-deniers in financial markets still mis-investing in unsustainable sectors, including the agro-chemical industrial complex and industrial livestock-produced meat and highly processed junk foods and sugary drinks.

This IPCC report identifies all the stresses on our environment, now evident in 2019 on every continent on Earth, from the melting icebergs and glaciers to floods, fires, heat waves and increasingly powerful hurricanes, typhoons and tornadoes.  The report focuses on land, where droughts, floods and fires and how these effects of climate change are impacting the human food system worldwide. The visuals and charts cram all the cross-cutting information to show how all these Earth systems interact and how their interacting creates new feedback, most negative, some positive.

The bad news: one quarter of Earth’s ice-free land area is subject to human-induced, anthropocentric degradation.  The rate at which we are eroding soils (on which all our food is currently grown) is higher than the rate at which soil is formed by natural processes. Climate change is exacerbating land degradation in low-lying coastal areas, river deltas, drylands and in permafrost areas.  In 2015, about 500 million people lived within areas which experienced desertification between the 1990s and 2000s. (pg. 3).  Frequency of dust storms and their intensity has increased due to land use and degradation, affecting human health (pg. 6).  The IPCC uses 2 global models: 1) to measure CO2 emissions from human sources, and 2) “carbon accounting“ to balance out these emissions with Nature’s efforts to capture ambient CO2 through photosynthesis by plants and trees and storing this carbon back into the Earth’s soils. (pg. 8).

The better news:  the report shows future scenarios on how societies can mitigate climate change and its effects, and adapt to them, with initiating changes in their development directions, roughly comparable with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  These 17 Goals, adopted by195 nations in 2015 are the preferred new human development indicator beyond GDP.

While GDP is still driving societies over a cliff, with all the similar, narrow, money-denominated economic indicators: average inflation, unemployment, inequality, etc. (like flying over a country at 60,000 feet, seeing little detail), the SDGs are mostly science-based, rather than based on money, like all the financial models and strategies based on all these bouncing currencies that are mis-investing in stranded 19th and 20th century “assets” that have become liabilities!

These future IPCC scenarios:  Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) from now until 2100 (pg. 14).  They include SSP 1 which sees humanity on a path toward 2100 which requires greater knowledge of Earth Systems Science, renewable energy, circular economies   and shifts in culture from competition to include more cooperation, reducing inequality.  These are  all paths we advocate at Ethical Markets and in our TV series “Transforming Finance” and our Green Transition Scoreboard® (all at www.ethicalmarkets.com)

While all these changes require disruption of 19th and 20th century industries, from phasing out fossil fuels, obsolete global gem mining, industrial livestock production, cutting meat consumption in favor of healthier plant-protein foods and beverages, these new sectors are expanding rapidly.

The IPCC scientists  cannot advocate these kinds of political challenges to  the status quo, but only lay out humanity’s many viable options (pg. 25).

Thankfully, we can spell these policy shift out in great detail in our reports, as well as challenging global finance to  overhaul  its obsolete models, concepts and algorithms in accordance with all the new science.

There is only one thing we would ask the IPCC scientists who authored this report:  please define carefully whether you are referencing freshwater  (since your definition in the report of “water“ seems to refer only to the planet’s 3% of dwindling freshwater).   This ignores the planet’s 97% of saltwater and the thousands of edible, nutritious halophyte salt-loving plant foods that make up the other half of the planet’s “plant kingdom“!   We advocate viable short-term shift in expanding the global food system, avoiding the famine you expect to  engulf some 200 million members of our human family, and conserving  much of the precious freshwater now used in glycophyte agriculture for human drinking needs and uses.

All summed up  in our TV show “Investing in Saltwater Agriculture: The Next Big Thing“ with NASA Chief Scientist Dennis Bushnell.


~Hazel Henderson, Editor”

IPCC Special Report

August 7, 2019

IPCC Special Report referenced in Hazel Henderson comments.

IPCC Press Release – GENEVA, August 8, 2019 – Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. At the same time, keeping global warming to well below 2ºC can be achieved only by reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors including land and food, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in its latest report on Thursday.

The IPCC, the world body for assessing the state of scientific knowledge related to climate change, its impacts and potential future risks, and possible response options, saw the Summary for Policymakers of theSpecial Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) approved by the world’s governments on Wednesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

It will be a key scientific input into forthcoming climate and environment negotiations, such as the Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (COP14) in New Delhi, India in September and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Santiago, Chile, in December.

“Governments challenged the IPCC to take the first ever comprehensive look at the whole land-climate system. We did this through many contributions from experts and governments worldwide. This is the first time in IPCC report history that a majority of authors – 53% – are from developing countries,” said Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC.IPCC Press Release [Read More]