The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a Special Report on Climate Change and Land on 8 August 2019.
It explores desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.
Below are some of the key points raised.
People, land and climate in a warming world
Land provides the principal basis for human livelihoods and well-being including the supply of food, freshwater and multiple other ecosystem services, as well as biodiversity. Human use directly affects more than 70% of the global, ice- free land surface, land that plays an important role in the climate system. Climate change has adversely impacted food security and terrestrial ecosystems as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions.
Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Use (AFOLU) activities accounted for around 13% of CO2, 44% of methane (CH4), and 82% of nitrous oxide (N2O) emissions from human activities globally during 2007-2016, representing 23% of total net anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases.
Changes in land conditions , either from land-use or climate change, affect global and regional climate. At the regional scale, changing land conditions
can reduce or accentuate warming and affect the intensity, frequency and duration of extreme events.
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. Some regions will face higher risks, while some regions will face risks previously not anticipated.
Adaptation and mitigation response options
Many land-related responses that contribute to climate change adaptation and
mitigation can also combat desertification and land degradation and enhance food security.
Most of the response options assessed contribute positively to sustainable development and other societal goals. Many response options can be applied without competing for land and have the potential to provide multiple co-benefits.
However, although most response options can be applied without competing for available land, some can increase demand for land conversion.
Many activities for combating desertification can contribute to climate change adaptation with mitigation co-benefits, as well as to halting biodiversity loss with sustainable development co-benefits to society.
Sustainable land management, including sustainable forest management, can prevent and reduce land degradation, maintain land productivity, and sometimes reverse the adverse impacts of climate change on land degradation.
Response options throughout the food system, from production to consumption, including food loss and waste, can be deployed and scaled up to advance
adaptation and mitigation.
Enabling response options
Appropriate design of policies, institutions and governance systems at all scales can contribute to land-related adaptation and mitigation while facilitating the pursuit of climate-adaptive development pathways.
Policies that operate across the food system, including those that reduce food loss and waste and influence dietary choices, enable more sustainable land-use management, enhanced food security and low emissions trajectories.
Acknowledging co-benefits and trade-offs when designing land and food policies can overcome barriers to implementation.
The effectiveness of decision-making and governance is enhanced by the involvement of local stakeholders (particularly those most vulnerable to climate change including indigenous peoples and local communities, women, and the poor and marginalised) in the selection, evaluation, implementation and monitoring of policy instruments for land-based climate change adaptation and mitigation.