Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.

The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane.

That’s important because methane is particularly good at trapping heat in the atmosphere. And the problem is getting more severe.

Heard on All Things Considered.  Read and listen to the full report from NPR.

global warming

Large swaths of forest have been cut down in Brazil in recent decades to make room for farming. Deforestation contributes to global warming and reversing it will be necessary to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Andre Penner/AP