Olivier de Schutter key points on food and climate change

January 14, 2015

Olivier De Schutter, Final Report
KEY POINTS picked by F.M.Lappe 


 30-32% of GHG from food system. (“Field practices” make up 15% of that.)
 “Under a business-as-usual scenario, we can anticipate an average of 2 per cent productivity decline over each of the coming decades, with yield changes in developing countries ranging from -27 per cent to +9 per cent for the key staple crops.11”

 

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The most potentially devastating impacts of industrial modes of agricultural production stem from their contribution to increased greenhouse gas emissions. Together, field-level practices represent approximately 15 per cent of total human-made greenhouse gas emissions, in the form of nitrous oxide (N2O) from the use of organic and inorganic nitrogen fertilizers, methane (CH4) from flooded rice fields and livestock, and carbon dioxide (CO2) from the loss of soil organic carbon in croplands and, due to intensified grazing, on pastures. In addition, the production of fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides, the tillage, irrigation and fertilization, and the transport, packaging and conservation of food require considerable amounts of energy, resulting in an additional 15 to 17 per cent of total man-made greenhouse gas emissions attributable to food systems. The resulting climate changes could seriously constrain the potential productivity of current agricultural methods. For some countries, the changing climate conditions of the past thirty years already appear to have offset a significant portion of the increases in average yields that arose from technology, carbon dioxide fertilization and other factors. Under a business-as-usual scenario, we can anticipate an average of 2 per cent productivity decline over each of the coming decades, with yield changes in developing countries ranging from -27 per cent to +9 per cent for the key staple crops.
 

Human Rights Council Twenty-fifth session Agenda item 3 Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier De Schutter
Final report: The transformative potential of the right to food*
24 January 2014
[verified 4/15/14]

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