Climate crisis cannot be averted without radical transformation of land use: WWF-Canada

In the ZoneLandBeluga Whales

TORONTO — In the wake of today’s authoritative new report on how land can help or hurt climate change, WWF-Canada is urging all levels of government to radically transform our land use by enlisting nature-based solutions to secure a climate-safe future.

Alongside dramatically cutting fossil fuels and scaling up renewables, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s just-released Special Report on Climate Change and Land demonstrates how critical land-based climate action is to meeting the 1.5°C goal of the Paris Agreement.

People use over 70 per cent of the global ice-free land surface, and this land use contributes almost a quarter of human-caused greenhouse gas emissions. But land can also be used to mitigate and adapt to climate change – emission-reducing initiatives such as decreasing deforestation and forest degradation make up to a quarter of the world’s climate pledges, and the potential is far greater.

This is especially true in Canada, which is warming at twice the global rate. Our current land use is simply unsustainable. The loss of nature for urban, agricultural and industrial purposes threatens our health, local economies and biodiversity as well as worsening our climate crisis.

Nature-based solutions combat that crisis by protecting and expanding natural carbon sinks like forests, peat bogs and wetlands. This also prevents wildlife loss and provides resilience against climate impacts such as sea level rise, river flooding, extreme fire weather and desertification.

Canada needs immediate action, and we’ve already mapped it out.

WWF-Canada’s data-based Wildlife Protection Assessment identifies five priority carbon-sequestering areas across the country that can deliver the most habitat-protecting bang for our climate-fighting buck. We have no time to wait.

“Climate, people and nature are inextricably linked, giving a vast country like Canada an incredible opportunity if we are bold enough to act on it. This IPCC land report proves business-as-usual is not an option – but nature is a solution.” – Megan Leslie, WWF-Canada President and CEO

“The vast majority of Canada’s carbon sinks – those forests, peat bogs and soils storing significant carbon and limiting global warming – have not yet been protected. The new IPCC land report just confirms that the science is in – protecting and restoring nature is crucial to our fight against climate change.” – James Snider, WWF-Canada Vice-President, Science, Research and Innovation

About World Wildlife Fund Canada
WWF-Canada creates solutions to the environmental challenges that matter most for Canadians. We work in places that are unique and ecologically important, so that nature, wildlife and people thrive together. Because we are all wildlife. For more information, visit

For further information
Joshua Ostroff, Senior Editorial Specialist, [email protected], +1 416-529-2967