Fix land to fix environment: UNCCD on IPCC report

With the earth warming faster, the land faster than oceans and the trend virtually certain as per the IPCC report, scientists said, “land can be part of the solution.”

The authoritative Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC’s) Working Group 1 Assessment Report (AR6WGI) released on Monday warned that no region of the world will be spared; the world is set to witness extreme weather events.

The report, part of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report of climate change, provides the physical science basis of climate change. It has established through assessment of various studies and predicted that more moisture is evaporating, and faster; atmosphere is holding more water; rainfall is heavier and more frequent; droughts are intensifying; extremely hot days are more intense, frequent, and last longer, whereas extremely cold days are less frequent and less severe.

“Land can be part of the solution. Better land planning, use and management going forward and the restoration of the one billion hectares of land governments have committed to restore by 2030 would make a big difference in our resilience to climate change. We know the benefits of restoration at large scale,” said Executive Secretary of the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) Ibrahim Thiaw.

“It’s critical to cut the sources of emissions, such as fossil fuels right now. But it is vital to ensure that the Earth’s natural carbon sinks can draw down the carbon in the atmosphere now and in the future. Oceans and land are not sufficient to draw down all the emissions. But they are necessary and critically important for meeting the global goals envisioned,” Thiaw said in a release.

Claiming that “land can be part of the solution,” he said, “Better land planning, use and management going forward and the restoration of the one billion hectares of land governments have committed to restore by 2030 would make a big difference in our resilience to climate change. We know the benefits of restoration at large scale.”

Under the Paris Agreement of 2015, governments agreed to take action to ensure by the year 2100 the Earth’s warming stays within 2 degrees Celsius, while pursuing efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. These actions are known as Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) under the Agreement signed into law under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Over one billion hectares of degraded land globally is earmarked for restoration by 2030. Of this, more than 250 million hectares are commitments under the NDCs. An additional 450 million hectares committed under the Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) and about 90 million hectares under the Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD) can contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation, he said.

The IPCC Special Report on ‘Climate Change and Land’ published two years ago, explains the various roles that land plays in driving climate change and its potential to both reverse the process and build the resilience of both people and ecosystems.

The IPCC’s Report from Working Group II, focusing on the impacts and how to adapt to the change, will be issued in February 2022. The Working Group III Report, on how to halt and eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, will be released in March 2022. The synthesis report of the Sixth Assessment Report will be issued in September 2022. These reports will advance further our understanding of the role land can play in addressing climate change.

–IANS

niv/bg

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