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Land is Part of the Solution, But Can’t Do It All

A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says land is a critical resource in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

The IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) released on August 8, 2019, emphasizes that land is under growing human pressure. But while better land management can contribute to tackling climate change, land can’t do it all. All sectors must work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to stay within the 2ºC target, if not 1.5oC.

While it is not a mystery that lands provide the basis for human livelihoods, this report is the first ever comprehensive look at the whole land-climate system. And according to Hoesung Lee, Chair of the IPCC, for the first time in IPCC report history a majority of authors are from developing countries.

The report highlights that human use directly affects more than 70 percent of land on Earth (that is free of ice), and that the current scope and use of this land and its impacts are unprecedented in human history.

The report also addresses food security, noting that about one third of food produced is lost or wasted worldwide – and reducing this loss would both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve food security.

Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II and member of the Future Earth Urban Knowledge-Action Network Steering Committee, points out the opportunities of balanced diets featuring plant-based foods and sustainably-produced animal-sourced foods for adapting to and limiting climate change.

The report highlights near-term action to address land use and climate change, which it says can create co-benefits socially, ecologically, economically and developmentally – and create more resilient livelihoods for those most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

About the Report

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.

Climate Change and Land is the second in a series of Special Reports to be produced in the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Cycle.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) is available at A Fact Sheet and Headline Statements are available at