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The climate crisis will reshape our relationships to land around the world. Journalist David Wallace-Wells warns that, once the planet warms 2°C above preindustrial levels—the target set by the Paris Agreement—"major cities in the equatorial band of the planet will become unlivable," and 400 million more people will suffer from regional water scarcity. At 3°C of warming—the expected result of Paris Agreement policy pledges by 2100—world agriculture systems could struggle to meet global caloric demand and droughts are projected to plague much of India and Pakistan, the Mediterranean, Central America, the western United States, and Australia. At 4°C, closer to where current policies will lead us by the century's close, rising seas could swallow land currently occupied by 470 to 760 million people.
While difficult to predict with precision, extreme heat, flooding, storms, and drought appear primed to create as many as one billion climate migrants (people driven to leave their homes because of changes to their local climate) by 2050. These impacts are already sowing instability and conflict and threaten the human rights of millions of people; they will only grow worse.
Ways - Land - Today - Catastrophes - Agriculture
The ways that we use land today are fueling these coming catastrophes. Agriculture and forestry together account for nearly one-quarter of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. In reaction to the 2019 IPCC report on climate change and land use, a recent Guardian article highlights the report's warning: "it will be impossible to keep global temperatures at safe levels unless there is also a transformation in the way the world produces food and manages land." Staving off the worst impacts of the climate crisis will therefore require significant changes in how we use land: reversing deforestation, adopting more sustainable fertilizer and tillage practices, and reducing beef consumption all could importantly help to cut global emissions.
These are not the only critical...
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