Corn fields outside of Arapahoe, North Carolina at sunset.
Cornfields outside Arapahoe NC Corn fields outside of Arapahoe, North Carolina at sunset. © Will Conkwright

Newsroom | The Nature Conservancy

Creating a Climate for Land-Use Change

IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land Highlights Pressure on Dwindling Land Resources

Today, the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Special Report on Climate Change and Land.  A follow-up to last October’s Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C, this latest report examines the complex relationships between a shifting climate and the lands we rely on for our food, livelihoods and wellbeing – encompassing threats including desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management and food security.

Commenting in response to the IPCC’s findings, Jennifer Tabola – Director for Global Climate Strategy at The Nature Conservancy – said:

“In the same way last year’s IPCC special report on 1.5°C focused global attention on the threats of climate change like never before, today’s new report promises to do the same for the complex challenges of land use. We already knew that humanity’s over-exploitation of the Earth’s lands is a key driver of climate change, and that we need to take urgent, ambitious action to address these issues.  The IPCC’s land report simply puts this situation into sharper focus – and presents us with the opportunity to define our generation.

“As with climate change in general, we have a choice: do we balance the needs of human development and nature, or do we sleepwalk into a future of failing farmlands, eroding soil, collapsing ecosystems and dwindling food resources? Can we look at the powerful tools conservation science has already put at our disposal to help combat these threats and have the courage to take the urgent policy decisions now necessary to see these deployed at scale?

“We know that natural climate solutions like reforestation, avoided deforestation and wetland conservation can together deliver a third of the carbon reductions necessary by 2030 to put us on a trajectory to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.  We have the sophisticated tools to help us concentrate renewable energy infrastructure on already-degraded lands, rather than on sensitive wildlife habitat or precious farmland. We understand the importance of working in close collaboration with the indigenous communities who are stewards of so much of our planet’s remaining wild lands.

“So many of the tools we need already exist. It now falls to global leaders, policymakers, corporations and communities the world over to show their courage, and invest in the vision and ambition necessary to drive their adoption of these tools. If we can muster the collective courage to make bold decisions now, together we can ensure the worst-case scenarios outlined in this latest, timely IPCC report will not become reality.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.