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Statement on IPCC Special Report on Climate and Land

Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change and possible response options, released its Special Report on Climate and Land. More than 100 scientists looked at 7,000 studies to understand how human impacts on land are causing greenhouse gas emissions, how climate change is affecting our ability to produce food, and how changing what we do on farms and in forests can help fight climate change. The analysis indicates that there must be overall focus on sustainability in order to tackle climate change.

The following statement can be attributed to Sarah Spence, Director of Climate Programs for the Ohio Environmental Council:

“Today’s IPCC special report underscores the need to act on climate by improving land management practices, in addition to eliminating emissions from power plants and vehicles, in order to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. The result of inaction could be catastrophic.

“According to the report, deforestation, agriculture and land degradation is responsible for 23 percent of the rise in human-caused greenhouse gases worldwide. These numbers will grow and further amplify the environmental, economic and health impacts of climate change without changes in land management.

“Though we need land for agriculture, we know that agricultural practices contribute to greenhouse gas emissions that can exacerbate the impacts of climate change, many of which we are already experiencing here in Ohio. Specifically, Ohio farmers have seen a reduction in crop yields as climate change drives increased precipitation and flooding. This, in turn, exacerbates the effects of invasive species, pests and plant disease which can make harvests less productive.

“While land use patterns across our state contribute to greenhouse gas emissions, we know that Ohioans can also be part of the solution by protecting and growing our forests as well as planting more native plants and crops which improve soil carbon capture.”