WWF Calls for ‘Radical Transformation of Land Use’ to Combat Climate Change

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - MAY 24: School children march down Queen Street during a climate change protest on May 24, 2019 in Auckland, New Zealand. Thousands of students across New Zealand are demonstrating in the streets again to fight for climate change action. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)
Hannah Peters/Getty

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has issued a declaration stating that a “radical transformation of our land use and food systems” is imperative to prevent the “climate crisis.”

The WWF appeal was timed to precede the August 8 release of a special report on the relationship between climate change and land by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) at its 50th session.

“Currently, agriculture, forestry and other land uses contribute around a quarter of global greenhouse gas emissions,” WWF announced, while expressing its hope that the IPCC report will “provide a robust and integrated assessment of how action in the land sector can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

“We need to see an urgent transformation in how we use land in the future,” said Dr. Stephen Cornelius, WWF’s chief advisor on climate change. “This includes the type of farming we do, our food system and diets, and the conservation of areas such as forests and other natural ecosystems.”

All of this, he said, “can either help or hinder the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.”

WWF said that land-related initiatives comprise up to a quarter of pledged climate actions to 2030while calling on governments “to adopt an integrated approach for dealing with land-based emissions and removals.”

“Good land-use choices are central to tackling the climate crisis. We must see a rapid shift in how we manage our land, alongside the necessary deep cuts to fossil fuel emissions, if we are to meet the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement,” Cornelius said.

Current human demands on land “are huge and unsustainable,” he said. “Business-as-usual is not an option as the pressures on the land will only increase unless we change how we use it.”

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