An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, food security, sustainable land management and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems shows that better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, but it is not the only solution. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors is essential if global warming is to be kept to below 2ºC.
Over two years in the making, the Special Report on Climate Change and Land explores how the way we use our land contributes to climate change and how climate change affects our land. It follows the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC released in October 2018.
The report’s full name is Climate Change and Land, an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems and it is one of three special reports that the IPCC is preparing during the current Sixth Assessment Report cycle.
According to the IPCC report, land is a critical resource. Land is already under growing human pressure and climate change is adding to these pressures. Land must remain productive to maintain food security as the population increases and the negative impacts of climate change on vegetation increase. This means there are limits to the contribution of land to addressing climate change, for instance through the cultivation of energy crops and afforestation. It also takes time for trees and soils to store carbon effectively. Bioenergy needs to be carefully managed to avoid risks to food security, biodiversity and land degradation. Desirable outcomes will depend on locally appropriate policies and governance systems.
Pete Smith from Aberdeen University (SUPER-G partner – being Pete the sub-task leader of Task 2.3.2 – Carbon storage & GHG, in WP2), was a coordinator leading author of the chapter 6 of this report.
Read the full report here.