working rangelands in South Dakota © WWF-US/Clay Bolt

Land

The overlooked part of the climate solution.

To fight climate change, we must change the way we use land.

The 30X30 Forests, Food and Land Challenge:

We’re calling on businesses, states, city and local governments, and global citizens to take action for better forest and habitat conservation, food production and consumption, and land use, working together across all sectors of the economy to deliver up to 30% of the climate solutions needed by 2030.

Why land?

24%

The way we use land for food, forestry, and other purposes contributes about 24%—or approximately 12 billion tons—of our total annual greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the second largest source of climate pollution after energy.

Plants and trees pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and keep it rooted in the ground. When we slash, burn and cut down forests, drain wetlands or mangroves, convert grasslands or till soil, the greenhouse gases that cause global climate change escape from land back into the atmosphere and heat the planet.

4 Billion

Food waste contributes more than 4 billion tons of greenhouse gas emissions each year. It takes about 14 million square kilometers of land to produce all the food that’s lost and wasted, and that footprint is growing into forests, peatlands, and other vital ecosystems. At a time when millions face food insecurity and hunger across the globe, we can’t afford to be this inefficient.

7.6 Million

We lose 7.6 million hectares of forests every year to livestock and agricultural expansion, unsustainable infrastructure, and resource extraction. That’s the equivalent of 27 football pitches every minute.

30%

If we cut waste, reduce excess consumption, and improve efficiency in our food systems, while also conserving our natural lands, habitats, and soils, we can deliver up to 30% of the climate solutions needed by 2030 to tackle the climate crisis and help implement the Paris Climate Agreement.

There is no viable global solution to the climate crisis without addressing the land sector. How we use land—and the food, clothing, paper, fuel and other products that come out of it—can no longer be part of the problem. It must be part of the solution. And, with your help, it can be.

Nepalese woman standing in her vegetable field. © James Morgan/WWF-US

How can I accept this challenge?

To achieve the 30X30 goal we must:

  1. Halve food loss and waste and consume conscientiously.
    • Food Loss & Waste: Sustainable Development Goal Target 12.3 calls for halving per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reducing food losses along production and supply chains (including postharvest losses) by 2030.
    • Climate-Friendly Diets: By reducing overconsumption, making healthy and responsible choices in line with suggested dietary guidelines—while avoiding food waste—we can alleviate pressure on natural habitats and climate.
  2. Sequester 1 gigaton of carbon each year in forests, soil and other natural and working lands by:
    • Keeping Carbon in the Ground: Agriculture and forestry businesses can shrink their carbon footprint through habitat conservation and by eliminating the loss and degradation and conversion of forests, grasslands, mangroves, soils and other habitats from their supply chains.
    • Putting Carbon Back Into the Ground: We can increase the amount of carbon that is reabsorbed into the ground by reforesting lands and rehabilitating soils that have been cleared or degraded.
    • Climate-Friendly Farming: By employing climate-smart production techniques, farmers and ranchers can yield food while building up more carbon in the ground.
  3. Enable better consumption and production of food and fiber through finance, transparency, public-private collaboration and protecting local rights.
    • Finance: Through innovative financing, lenders and investors can diffuse risk and provide more financial security so farmers, ranchers, and other producers can invest in improved production practices more confidently.
    • Tech: From satellite monitoring to distributed ledgers like blockchain—new technologies can create more transparent supply chains and enable companies to verify their suppliers are producing responsibly.
    • Coordination: Businesses should collaborate with each other and coordinate more closely with state and local governments to implement climate targets in their supply chains and drive strong policies that create a level playing field for producers.
    • Protect Rights:The rights and safety of those on the front lines of habitat loss must be protected: Indigenous Peoples, conservationists on the ground, and local communities.

A lot of this work is already in motion. Now is the time to take climate ambition to the next level and step up to meet the climate challenge head on.

If you are already working to meet one of these challenges or would like to find out how you can set an ambitious commitment, we want to hear from you! Please contact land@climatelandchallenge.org.

Who has a role to play?

Farmers and ranchers, businesses, states, cities and local governments, indigenous leaders, scientists, financial institutions, artists, religious groups, NGOs and global citizens all have a critical role to play in reducing forest, food and land-based emissions to help tackle climate change.

Ahead of September’s Global Climate Action Summit the land sector is coming together to define and commit to deliver on this challenge. At the Summit we will share and celebrate what has been achieved to date and create more ambitious worldwide commitments and coalitions to accelerate action and help national governments deliver on their climate goals.

We need to unite a sector. We need to define the science. We need to drive investment. We need to deliver ambitious and innovative solutions. We need everyone’s help.

Old-growth boreal forest, Sweden © Staffan Widstrand / WWF

The Forest, Food and Land Challenge Team

Manuel Pulgar-Vidal—Leader of the Climate and Energy Practice at WWF International and former President of COP 20—is on the Advisory Committee of the Global Climate Action Summit and leading the convening of the food, forest, and land challenge coalition. We invite all stakeholders to join us by emailing land@climatelandchallenge.org.

  • ADECIA
  • American Forests
  • Avoided Deforestation Partners
  • c40
  • California Air Resources Board
  • California Natural Resources Agency
  • Chatham House
  • City of San Francisco
  • Climate Advisors
  • Climate and Land Use Alliance (CLUA)
  • Climate Change Adaptation Project
  • Climate Focus
  • Climate Reality Project
  • Climate Smart Group
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD)
  • Conservation Alliance
  • Conservation International (CI)
  • Doris Duke Charitable Foundation
  • Earth Innovation Institute (EII)
  • EAT Forum
  • Environmental Defense Fund
  • European Climate Foundation
  • FAIRR
  • Fahr LLC
  • Food and Land Use Coalition
  • Forest Trends
  • Global Optimism
  • Global Resilience Partnership
  • Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation
  • Governors’ Forest and Climate Task Force (GCF)
  • IDH the sustainable trade network
  • Indigenous Environmental Network
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
  • Meridian Institute
  • Mission 2020
  • Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)
  • NextGen Policy
  • Norway Ministry of Climate and Environment
  • Oxfam
  • Peru Ministry of Environment (MINAM)
  • Project X Global
  • PWC
  • Rainforest Alliance
  • Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI)
  • Sierra Club
  • Solutions from the Land
  • SYSTEMIQ
  • The Climate Group
  • The Earth Institute at Columbia University
  • The Nature Conservancy (TNC)
  • Tomkat Ranch
  • Tropical Forest Alliance (TFA)
  • UK Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
  • Unilever
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
  • United Nations Foundation
  • UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network
  • World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
  • Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS)
  • World Bank
  • World Economic Forum
  • World Resources Institute (WRI)
  • World Wildlife Fund (WWF)

Our actions will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from land use directly and encourage national governments to accelerate their progress. We have no time nor land to lose.

Contact us

To join the effort, make a commitment, or find out how to get involved with the Food, Forest and Land working group please contact land@climatelandchallenge.org

For media inquiries, please email communications@wwfus.org.

Learn more about the Global Climate Action Summit and the other challenge areas.