The Climate Clock is Ticking: Time has Come for Agroecology  

27 Mar 2023


The 6th  Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report delivers a “final warning”, underlining the urgency of action and the importance of sustainable diets in the fight against the climate crisis. 

The IPCC, which made public its latest findings on March 20, has made its message loud and clear: we must act now if we want to change the course of the climate crisis.  

Rising greenhouse gas emissions are pushing the world to the brink of irrevocable damage that only swift and drastic action can avert. The report highlights the importance of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels, and how the world’s inaction has made the challenge even greater: “More than a century of burning fossil fuels as well as unequal & unsustainable energy & land use has led to global warming of 1.1°C above pre-industrial levels.”. In recent years we have already felt the effects of the climate crisis: extreme weather events caused by climate breakdown have caused countless deaths through heatwaves, droughts, floods and fires.This has driven millions of people into hunger, and led to “increasingly irreversible losses” in vital ecosystems. 

We are on the brink of the cliff, but we can still make a U-turn. For this to happen, the IPCC’s report details several possible solutions: rethinking cities, managing crops sustainably, investing in sustainable food systems and agroecology, and protecting 30-50% of land, fresh water, and oceans. The report also highlights the importance of increasing climate funding, which is currently insufficient, especially in developing economies, and introducing just and equitable policies. 

The IPCC has specifically endorsed agroecology as a climate solution, together with the empowerment of local communities with “the potential to strengthen resilience to climate change with multiple co-benefits.”. What’s more, the IPCC chair also stated that“a shift to sustainable healthy diets can help fight climate change”. 

At Slow Food, we know that the only possible way to overturn a food system that plunders natural resources (starting with water and the soil) and degrades food sovereignty is to transition towards agroecology. Agroecology is not just  a set of agricultural practices but a vision and that focuses on biodiversity, the conservation of ecosystems, and the skills and needs of communities. It is a model that can ensure long-term food security for everyone.  

The globalized, industrial food production system takes a high toll on natural resources, causing soil erosion, water pollution and habitat loss for wild species. The protection and development of small- and medium-scale food production and local economies is thus vital. Local food production systems have the advantage of supplementing healthy, nutritious food with social responsibility, ecological benefits, the reduction or elimination of synthetic chemical products, and the safeguarding of traditional techniques and knowledge. Local food is fresher, protects local varieties and species, travels fewer miles and requires less packaging. It also allows producers and consumers access to better information and greater control over production and distribution systems.  

So, what are we waiting for? The climate crisis is at our door, but agroecology is ready to answer it and lead the way to a brighter future!  

What is the IPCC AR6 synthesis report? 

The fourth and final instalment of the sixth assessment report (AR6) by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the body of the world’s leading climate scientists, is the synthesis report, so called because it draws together the key findings of the preceding three main sections. Together, they make a comprehensive review of global knowledge of the climate. 

The first three sections covered the physical science of the climate crisis, including observations and projections of global heating, the impacts of the climate crisis and how to adapt to them, and ways of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. They were respectively published in August 2021, February, and April 2022 respectively. 

The synthesis report also includes three other shorter IPCC reports published since 2018, on the impacts of global heating of more than 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, climate change and land, and climate change and the oceans and cryosphere (the ice caps and glaciers). 


 Read the report here

Picture credits: IPCC

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