The latest climate change report released from the United Nations demonstrates the need for more sweeping changes to be made on an international level to address the immediate effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change performed the study which found that the effects of climate change will be more severe and present themselves sooner than previously anticipated.
The study described the damage that would be felt on an international level if greenhouse gas emissions were to continue at the current rate. Without significant intervention, the atmospheric temperature is on track to increase nearly three degrees Fahrenheit above pre-industrial levels by 2040. That kind of rise in temperature would increase food shortages and the severity and occurrences of wildfires. It would also create more extreme heat events and cause heavier rainfall in North America.
California is one of the leaders in addressing climate change concerns, in part due to Governor Jerry Brown’s ambitious plan to achieve zero emissions by 2045. California has also been investing heavily in agricultural solutions to combat emission levels. Through various initiatives, the state has spent more than $180 million in the last four years on climate-smart farming projects. A total of 735 on-farm projects have eliminated an estimated 42 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions altogether.
Agriculture is in a unique position as an industry. The energy and transportation sectors can implement technologies and approaches that can slow down further emissions, but agriculture can actively combat emissions by pulling carbon from the atmosphere and putting it into the soil. While agricultural emissions in California account for only eight 8 percent of the total greenhouse gas footprint, the industry has the potential to sequester more carbon than it emits.
Over 90 scientists from 40 different counties collaborated on the climate change report, examining more than 6,000 scientific studies. The report is meant to be a guide for world leaders to refer to when contemplating energy and emission standards.