Even if we limit global warming to 1.5°C, we cannot eliminate all loss and damage from climate change, but some can be reduced. Even temporarily exceeding 1.5°C of global warming will have devastating effects, some of which will be irreversible.
The new report released by the IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change , presented on February 28, reiterates that the scientific evidence is unequivocal: climate change is a threat to human well-being and planetary health. The IPCC concludes that the brief window to ensure a livable future is rapidly closing.
Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), pointed out that we are seeing the effects of climate change already at 1.1°C of global warming and, as things stand, we we are heading towards a disastrous global warming of 3°C.
The IPCC report recognizes the interdependence of climate, ecosystems, biodiversity and human society. A resolution that recognizes the link between environment, sustainable development and animal welfare is proposed by a group of African countries for adoption at the ongoing United Nations Environment Assembly (U NEA 5.2). The resolution highlights how the exploitation and use of animals is a key driver of the triple environmental crisis of biodiversity loss, climate change and pollution, and pandemics. The Eurogroup for Animals promotes this initiative and calls on all Member States to support it.
For too long, animal welfare has been absent from the conversation around the climate emergency. Intensive farming negatively affects the environment, leading to deforestation and loss of biodiversity. It accounts for a significant share of greenhouse gas emissions, of which methane is a powerful driver of global warming. Because methane has a shorter lifespan in the atmosphere than carbon emissions, reducing methane emissions by limiting livestock numbers and switching to plant-based diets is one way to mitigate rapidly changing climate.
Even if we succeed in eliminating fossil fuel emissions, the emissions generated by the current global food system, rich in animal protein, would leave the 1.5°C target out of reach . It would even be difficult to stay below 2°C of global warming. It is clear that climate change mitigation must involve public policies that support a reduction in livestock numbers and a dietary shift to plant-based diets in order to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. greenhouse effect and give us a chance to limit the worst consequences.
The new IPCC report is a stark reminder of the urgent need for strong and rapid policy action to transform the food system.