© Neil Ever Osborne / WWF-US
Climate change and land

Land and climate interact with each other

The way we use land drives climate change and climate change adds stress to land systems and so worsens existing risks to people and nature. 

The food system is contributing around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions.

With better land management, we can help tackle climate change and create a secure future for people and nature.

© Nicolas Nadeau
​Here's what we know:

Human demands on land are significant and growing

Land systems drive climate change through deforestation and the conversion of ecosystems, land degradation, and the production and consumption of food.

Business as usual is not an option

Pressures on land will only increase unless we change how we use it. Delaying action will lead to increased global warming and associated climate impacts. 

Land can both a source of carbon emissions and a sink for carbon removal  

So how we manage land has a direct impact on our ability to combat climate change.

Forests, food and land: a key to tackling climate change

We can take pressure off the land by chosing different ways of farming and by eating more plant-based diets and reducing food waste and loss.

Nature-based climate solutions can help 

Countries can reduce greenhouse gas emissions with nature-based climate solutions such as halting deforestation and improving agriculture practices. 

Land is only part of the story

While better use of land is important to combat climate change, action on farming and forests is not an excuse for inaction on energy. We must sharply reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and scale up the use of renewable energy, globally achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

About the report
The Special Report on Climate Change and Land (SRCCL) is an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems which was released in August 2019.

IPCC reports are the authoritative source of information on climate change and underpin the international community’s understanding of climate change and related issues.

​What WWF is doing

© Shutterstock / SantiPhotoSS / WWF


Nature, Food and Climate Change: How sustainable land management can meet multiple societal goals

While the basic science of climate change is settled, our scientific understanding of how climate is connected to food, agriculture, forests and land is anything but.