Food System Discussions in the IPCC Climate Change Report 2022

The IPCC report on climate change discusses several ways in which we can make changes to our food system to reduce its climate impacts.

  1. Reduce food loss and waste. Around a third of the food produced for people is lost or wasted - but conventional definitions don’t capture everything. We discuss alternative ways of thinking about food waste in our explainer, including feeding edible crops to livestock and loss of nutrients in stored food. Check out our explainer:

What are the best methods to reduce food waste, and why is it so important? Take a look at our blog post: Why the climate emergency demands food waste regulation | TABLE Debates.

  1. Invest in emerging technologies. The report finds limited evidence but high agreement that a suite of “emerging technologies” could bring “substantial reduction in direct GHG emissions from food production.”

Why is there limited evidence that these technologies could be effective in reducing food production climate impacts?

‘Emerging technologies’ refer to a huge variety of mechanisms and processes. Have a look at couple of them in our blog posts: Spotlight on urban, vertical and indoor agriculture | TABLE Debates

The role of plant-based, meatless meats in sustainable diets | TABLE Debates.

  1. Label products with climate impacts caused by their production. Do you think this would impact consumers’ product choices?

Check out our blog post exploring a version of this idea in which users can find climate impacts of products by using an app to scan barcodes:

Simple but not simplistic: can product badges encourage more sustainable consumption? | TABLE Debates.

  1. Reduce emissions from rearing ruminants. There are huge variations in recorded emissions caused by ruminant production, mostly due to varying production systems. Do you think we have scope to optimize ruminant production to reduce emissions?

Take a look at our blog post “Grazing livestock in a world of climate change: do they have a role?”

Grazing livestock in a world of climate change: do they have a role? | TABLE Debates.

Here we discuss efficiency in animal production:

Check out our “Grazed and Confused” report in which we consider the climate impacts of grass fed cattle:

  1. Produce and eat less meat. What needs to come first, reduced meat consumption or reduced meat production?

See how less meat, more veg is reflected in the new UK eatwell plate in our blog post:

Less meat, more veg | TABLE Debates.

The FCRN report “Plates, pyramids and planet - Developments in national healthy and sustainable dietary guidelines:a state of play assessment.” links less meat, more veg to both personal health outcomes and environmental health outcomes:

  1. Change how we use land for agricultural purposes.

The report warns of “non-climatic stressors” that can exacerbate climate change effects such as land use change.

Take a look at our explainer “What is the land sparing-sharing continuum?” where we discuss two viewpoints on how agricultural land should be used:

Land sparing could be achieved through sustainable intensification:

Food availability might also be increased if we didn’t feed edible crops to livestock:

Which of these strategies do you think has the greatest potential?

Which one should be our first step?

How can we get more people involved in pushing these action points?

Are there any important ideas missing?

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