Protect nature to keep planet cool

The best way to cap global warming is to empower indigenous forest peoples, reduce food waste and slash meat consumption, an alliance of 38 NGOs said Monday.

Restoring natural forest ecosystems, securing the land rights of local communities and revamping the global food system could cut greenhouse emissions 40 percent by mid-century and help humanity avoid climate catastrophe, they argued in a 50-page report based on recent science.

Approximately half of the reduced emissions would come from boosting the capacity of forests and wetlands to absorb CO2, and the other half from curtailing carbon-intensive forms of agriculture.

On current trends, Earth is on track to warm up an unlivable three or four degrees Celsius (5.4 to 7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels, far about the 1.5C climate-safe threshold endorsed last week by the UN in a major climate change assessment.

In the wake of the UN report, two starkly different visions are emerging on how to beat back the existential threat of global warming.

One calls for geoengineering and the aggressive use of technology to draw excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, especially by burning biofuels and capturing the emitted CO2, a process known by its acronym, BECCS.

The other, favoured in the new “Missing Pathways to 1.5C” report, is based primarily on Earth’s natural capacity to absorb CO2. AFP

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