Institute for Governance & Sustainable Development

“Land is under growing human pressure; Land is part of the solution; but land can’t do it all.”

August 8, 2019

Geneva, Switzerland, 8 August 2019— Released today, the IPCC’s Summary for Policymakers of its second Special Report Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) explores the complex connections between climate change and land. The Report confirms the significant role land use has on greenhouse gas emissions and, conversely, climate change’s impact on the world’s land use, such as water availability, food security, and biodiversity. 

Agriculture, forestry, and other land use (AFOLU) was responsible for 23% of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from 2007 to 2016, including roughly half of anthropogenic methane (CH4) emissions coming from agriculture and 75% of global nitrous oxide (N2O) from nitrogen fertilization of land. “If emissions associated with pre- and post-production activities in the global food system are included, the emissions are estimated to be 21–37% of total net anthropogenic GHG emissions”, according to the new report. The IPCC explains the importance of near-term action for sustainable land management to meet climate goals. 

Climate change creates additional stresses on land, exacerbating existing risks to livelihoods, biodiversity, human and ecosystem health, infrastructure, and food systems. Increasing impacts on land are projected under all future GHG emission scenarios, although scenarios with fewer emissions and less warming have fewer impacts. 

Fast climate mitigation in the near-term and sustainable land management are critical to both adapt and mitigate the worst of climate impacts, but the IPCC confirms the longer policymakers wait, the harder it will be to prevent a global crisis.

The Final Government Review Draft of the SRCCL has also been made available with the Summary for Policymakers. The full Report will be released in the coming months.

The Summary for Policymakers (and other chapters of the Report) can be found here.