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IPCC’s Special Report on Climate Change and Land Use

Posted by Claudia Tormey on September 08, 2019 at 05:00 PM

IPCC Land Use

The last few months have seen new temperature records across Europe, and unprecedented forest fires from Brazil to the Arctic.

Land is already under growing human pressure and climate breakdown is adding to these pressures.

This was a core message from the IPCC’s special report on climate change and land use, published in early August. The report warned that intensive human activity has turned land into a major source of carbon pollution. It delivered unequivocal evidence that radical change is now needed in how we use land for food production and energy, and that sustainable land use has huge potential for combating climate breakdown. The assessment showed that up to a third of all greenhouse gas emissions are now estimated to come from land use, emphasising that intensive farming and the escalating use of land for energy is increasing emissions of carbon dioxide, and that rising temperatures and changing weather patterns are already undermining availability and access to food, as well as agricultural stability and productivity.

The publication of the report came just ten months after the last IPCC publication which concluded that limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society.

In response to the report, Stop Climate Chaos called for a new land use plan here in Ireland to reduce emissions, protect biodiversity, and adapt to climate impacts. A review of the Government’s recent climate action plan, carried out by Stop Climate Chaos and the Environmental Pillar found that although intensive agriculture, forestry, and peatland drainage and extraction are a major source of Ireland’s emissions, there is little in the Plan to adequately address land use as a contributor to climate change. This is despite recommendations made earlier this year from the special Oireachtas Committee on Climate Action for a national land use review of afforestation, forestry and peatlands, to align the sector with the Paris Agreement. As part of their recommendations, the Committee also called on the Government to respond to the findings of today’s IPCC special report.

Stop Climate Chaos, along with Trócaire, hosted a seminar for civil society organisations on what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. With input from Danny Chivers, the event proved very popular - with a broad range of organisations attending. Danny is the lead external carbon analyst for Oxfam, Christian Aid UK, and ActionAid. Due to the popularity of the event, it is hoped that a follow-up event will be held in the near future. Watch this space!

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