IPCC Issues a Special Report on Climate Change and Land

The IPCC has spent the past two years working on a special report looking at climate change and the land. The report looks at the ways that we are currently using our land and how this is contributing to climate change as well as how climate change is affecting the land. The report covers greenhouse gas fluxes in relation to the land, climate change and the desertification process, land degradation and its impact on food security, response options to limit risks and adapt to climate change, and more. The report is based on the work of 107 scientists from 52 countries across the globe including many developing countries. The report received over 28,000 comments from governments and expert reviewers.

The report notes that land provides the basis for human livelihood and well-being including food supply, freshwater, and other ecosystems. Human use affects over 70% of the global land surface that is not covered by ice. About a quarter of that land has been subject to human-induced degradation. Degraded lands are exacerbated even more by the effects of climate change. Changing land conditions impact the intensity, duration, and frequency of extreme climate events. Land-related responses to climate change can also be used to combat desertification and improve food security. These include sustainable food production, sustainable forest management, soil carbon management, land restoration, and reduced deforestation.

The report does call for diversification in the food system to reduce the risks of climate change. This includes balanced diets with an increase in plant-based foods. It also includes a reduction of food waste and loss. Currently, approximately 25-30% of all food produced is lost or wasted. The reasons for loss differ between developed and developing countries and include harvesting and storage techniques, packaging, and transportation.

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