The Land Gap Report: In Response to Climate Change, Governments are Relying on Land for Carbon Dioxide Removal

On November 3, “The Land Gap Report” was released in the context of COP27 climate change negotiations. Around 20 scholars from various countries and backgrounds contributed to the different chapters, and the foreword was written by Michael Fakhri, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.

The report’s key findings are:
* The total area of land needed to meet projected biological carbon removal in national climate pledges is almost 1.2 billion hectares – equivalent to current global cropland. Countries’ climate pledges rely on unrealistic amounts of land-based carbon removal.
* Evidence shows that indigenous peoples and local communities with secure land rights vastly outperform both governments and private landholders in preventing deforestation, conserving biodiversity, and producing food sustainably.
* More than half of the total land area pledged for carbon removal – 633 million hectares – involves reforestation, putting potential pressure on ecosystems, food security and indigenous peoples’ rights. Restoring degraded lands and ecosystems account for 551 million hectares pledged.
* Agroecology promotes socioecological resilience by restoring ecosystem functions and services through biologically diverse agricultural and food systems, also a key approach to the realization of human rights in the context of climate change.
* Current ‘net accounting’ methods assume that planting new trees offsets fossil fuel emissions or the destruction of primary forest, but this ignores scientific and ecological principles.

Download the full report and the executive summary