Food waste, other agriculture solutions critical to addressing climate change

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report identifies multiple ways changes to our food system can help prevent climate change

Peter Wendt | Public Domain
Vegetables lying on a table.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change published the final part of its sixth assessment report on Monday. The report lists eight things the world must do to avoid catastrophic climate change. Of those, at least half have implications for our food system:

  1. Reduce methane, a potent greenhouse gas that has a greater warming effect than carbon dioxide over the short term, and comes from oil and gas operations, animal husbandry, decaying food and other organic waste, and more;
  2. Stop deforestation to preserve these all-important carbon sinks that pull carbon out of the atmosphere, but are often clearcut in order to make way for agriculture;
  3. Restore other degraded land, such as wetlands, that are also key carbon sinks but are often subject to conversion for agricultural purposes;
  4. Change agriculture, and change the way we eat, including by reducing fertilizer and pesticide overuse, eating more plant-based foods and less meat, and making sure the food we produce doesn’t go to waste;
  5. Adopt solar and wind power at scale to get our power sector off greenhouse gas producing fossil fuels;
  6. Improve energy efficiency;
  7. Stop burning coal once and for all, relying instead on clean energy sources;
  8. Put climate at the heart of all decision making – both in government and in board rooms.

That’s a hefty to-do list. Fortunately, solutions already exist today, we just need to take advantage of them.


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