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LAUNCHED: IPCC Special Report on Climate Change and Land and Summary for Policymakers

Climate Change and Land: an IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems(SRCCL) has been approved.

Over two years in the making, the Special Report on Climate Change and Landexplores how the way we use our land contributes to climate change and how climate change affects our land. It follows the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºCreleased in October 2018.

The full title reflects the breadth of the report, which covers: greenhouse gas fluxes related to land; interactions between climate change and desertification, land degradation and food security; land-related impacts and risks; response options that help adapt to climate change; response options that reduce land-related emissions or enhance the take-up of carbon by land systems; and links to sustainable development more broadly. The approved Summary for Policymakers will be presented at a live-streamed press conference at 10 a.m.CEST on 8 August 2019 at the World Meteorological Organization.

Some facts and numbers behind the scene

  • The Special Report on Climate Change and Landwas prepared by 107 leading scientists from 52 countriesacross all regions of the world, who acted as Coordinating Lead Authors, Lead Authors and Review
  • 53% of the authors are from developing countries,making this the first IPCC report to have more authors from developing countries than from developed countries.
  • The author teams in turn enlisted the help of 96 Contributing Authors and 11 Chapter Scientists
  • Over 7,000 papers were assessed in this report
  • The report received a total of 28,275 comments from expert reviewers and governments

What the report covers:

  • Desertification, land degradation and food security are covered in Chapters 3, 4 and 5, making up the core of the report.
  • Chapters 1-2 introduce and give the context to the report,with Chapter 2 looking at overall land and climate interactions.
  • Chapter 3: Desertification •The specific nature of desertification •Status, current trends and future projections of desertification linked to climate change, globally and regionally •Climatic and anthropogenic direct and indirect drivers of desertification including extremes such as drought •Attribution: distinguishing between climatic-and human-induced changes •Desertification feedbacks to climate, including sand and dust storms •Climate-desertification interactions, including past observations and future projections •Observed and projected impacts of desertification on natural and human systems in a changing climate. This could include the role of aerosols and dust, impacts on ecosystem services (e.g. water, soil and soil carbon and biodiversity) and impacts on socio-ecological systems (e.g. impacts on vulnerable communities, poverty, food security, livelihoods, and migration). •Technological, socio-economic and policy responses todesertification under a changing climate including economic diversification, enabling conditions, co-benefits as well as limits to adaptation •Hotspots and case-studies
  • Chapter 4: Land Degradation •Processes that lead to degradation and their biophysical, socio-economic, and cultural drivers across multiple temporal and spatial scales •Linkages and feedbacks between land degradation and climate change, including extremes (e.g. floods and droughts), erosion, and their effects on ecosystems and livelihoods •Status, current trends and future projections of land degradation linked to climate change, globally and regionally •Attribution: distinguishing between climatic-and human-induced changes •Direct and indirect impacts of Climate Change on Land Degradation, Land Degradation on Climate Change, and reactive and proactive response options, such as land restoration, for key socio-ecological systems •Observed and projected impacts of land degradation on natural and human systems in a changing climate. This could include impacts on ecosystem services (e.g. water, soil and soil carbon, biodiversity) and impacts on socio-ecological systems (for example, impacts on vulnerable communities, poverty, food security,livelihoods, and migration). •Integrated higher-level responses, e.g. sustainable land management (where possible related to the SDGs), including considerations of cost, incentives and barriers and limits to adaptation •Hotspots and case-studies
  • Chapter 5 covers food  and nutrition security issues
  • Chapter 6 examines links between desertification, land degradation, food security and greenhouse gas (GHG) fluxes as well as synergies and trade-offs associated with response options.
  • Chapter 7 covers risks arising from interaction of climate change with desertification, land degradation, food security as well as management responses and decision-making across different scales.

The draft outline of the report was prepared in February 2017, and the Panel approved it in March of the same year during their 45thSession (Guadalajara, Mexico). The Special Report also has a Summary for Policymakers, a Technical Summary and Frequently Asked Questions.

Read the Summary for policymakers

A group of delegates, including Barron Joseph Orr. Lead Scientist, UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), supported the UNCCD Land Degradation Neutrality target.

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