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  • Special Report on Climate Change and Land

  • Monday, 12th August 2019

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the Special Report on Climate Change and Land on 8 August 2019. According to the Special Report, the land surface air temperature has risen nearly twice as much as the global average temperature since the pre-industrial period. With increasing frequency and intensity of weather extremes, climate change has adversely affected terrestrial ecosystems and food security as well as contributed to desertification and land degradation in many regions. Although the land currently acts as a carbon sink, i.e. absorbing part of the human-caused carbon emissions from the atmosphere, the persistence of the sink is uncertain as climate change progresses. Increasing impacts on land are projected under all future greenhouse gas emission scenarios.

Changes in land conditions affect global and regional climate. Desertification amplifies global warming through the release of carbon dioxide linked with the decrease in vegetation cover. At the regional scale, changing land conditions can accentuate or reduce warming and affect the intensity, frequency and duration of extreme events.

The Special Report points out that rapid reductions in anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions across all sectors reduce negative impacts of climate change on land ecosystems and food production systems. Sustainable land management can prevent and reduce land degradation, maintains land productivity, and contributes to mitigation and adaptation. Reforestation, afforestation and reduced deforestation can help to achieve climate goals in the Paris Agreement. Besides, reducing food loss and waste enables more sustainable land-use management and enhances food security. Efforts to address climate change mitigation and adaptation, desertification, land degradation and food security can bring social, ecological, economic and development co-benefits.

The Special Report is available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/srccl/.

Fig 1
Summary for Policymakers of the Special Report on Climate Change and Land
Source: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change