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Chapter 10: Energy and Climate

GLO Chapter 10

There has been a massive and unprecedented explosion in energy use since the 19th century; global energy use has grown by more than 20 times in the last 200 years, far outstripping the rate of population growth (Grübler, 2004). In particular, the use of fossil fuels has increased dramatically, nuclear fission has emerged as a globally important energy source, and more recently a range of renewable energy technologies have moved from niche markets into the mainstream.

The rapid growth in energy production and consumption has in turn had major impacts on land resources. This includes direct impacts, such as land use change and land degradation, and more subtle influences from the local and downstream pollution of soil, air, and water as well as carbon emissions causing global change. The most significant impact has been the acceleration of human-induced climate change.

Storing carbon in terrestrial ecosystems

While land is both a source and victim of climate change, it is also a part of the solution. Sustainable land management practices can contribute to climate mitigation strategies by halting and reversing the loss of greenhouse gases from land-based sources and can provide irreplaceable ecosystem services that help society to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

If land management is to significantly contribute to mitigation, the impacts of different land uses and management practices on carbon sequestration rates, plant productivity, and total storage capacity must be better understood (Erb et al., 2016). Sufficient incentives to encourage land uses that prevent emissions and sequester additional carbon are needed.

chapter 10

Chapter 10: Energy And Climate

While land is both a source and victim of climate change, it is also a part of the solution. Sustainable land management practices can contribute to climate mitigation strategies by halting and reversing the loss of greenhouse gases from land-based sources and can provide irreplaceable ecosystem services that help society to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

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