BC3 participate in a new study on the contribution of land use to the mitigation of climate change in the future

“BC3 participate in a new study on the contribution of land use to the mitigation of climate change in the future “


The prestigious journal, Nature Climate Change, has published a report on the possible role of land use in mitigating climate change, taking a carbon-neutral scenario for 2040 and net carbon sink scenario for 2050 as targets.

María José Sanz, scientific director of the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3) and Ikerbasque professor, is one of the study co-authors, along with other academics of renowned international prestige.

The results of the study contributed to the recent report on Climate Change and Land in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) regarding the feasibility of carbon neutrality in the land use sector in 2040.


The prestigious journal Nature Climate Change has just published a report on the role of land use in mitigating climate change and how this should be extensively applied to prevent the increase in global temperature. This study indicates which measures on forests, agriculture and food systems may be critical.

Specifically, the study pioneers in identifying and proposing specific measures in land use to reduce emissions by 50% per decade along a 2020-2050 timeline, towards the aim of limiting global warming to 1.5ºC. In addition, it contributes to research on the role of land use in the feasibility of adapting to climate change and meeting sustainable development goals.

María José Sanz, scientific director of the Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), Ikerbasque professor and a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is a co-author of this study, spearheaded by researchers from the University of Virginia (USA) and the IIASA. The study, conducted by an international team, examines different climate models and evaluates 24 land management practices offering the greatest mitigation potential, along with other associated social and environmental benefits.

The study identifies different priority measures that countries could take to reduce land use emissions to zero by 2040, preventing global temperature from increasing over 1.5ºC.

In particular, it affirms that, if countries implemented these measures, the land use sector could achieve carbon neutrality by 2040 and become a net carbon sink by 2050.

At present, the land use sector accounts for around 25% of global emissions. These new activities could potentially mitigate 15 GtCO2e per year, achieving approximately 50% in emission reduction and 50% in additional carbon absorption by land.

María J. Sanz emphasises that “through this report, the authors do not mean to send the message that this sector is capable of substituting efforts that are necessary in other fields, such as energy, among other reasons, since such potential may be reduced by factors that the study was unable to take into account, such as the vulnerability of land ecosystems to climate change”.

BIODATA: María José Sanz

Professor Sanz stands out for her long career, with over 25 years of experience in the field of science, specifically, in research subjects such as the carbon and nitrogen cycle, the impact of air quality on terrestrial ecosystems, and greenhouse gas inventories. Likewise to be underscored over the past two decades are her contributions in the sphere of multilateral negotiations on climate change as Spanish delegation negotiator for the European Union, senior officer of the Climate Change Framework Convention secretariat, and coordinator of the UNREDD programme for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Since 2001, she has contributed to IPCC reports as author and editor on several occasions, apart from her work in publishing numerous articles in scientific journals of renowned prestige. Since 2016, she has assumed the scientific management of BC3, María de Maeztu centre of research excellence, with connections to leading international institutions, scientific networks and socio-economic agents


Roe, S., Streck C., Obserteiner M., Frank S., Griscom B., Drouet L., Fricko O., Gusti M., Harris N., Hasegawa T., Hausfather Z., Havlík P., House J., Nabuurs G-J., popp A., Sanz M.J., Sanderman J., Smith P., Stehfest E,. Lawrence D. 2019.Contribution of the land sector to a 1.5 °C world. Nature Climate Change. 9pages817–828. DOI (https://doi.org/10.1038/s41558-019-0591-9)

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Financiado por el Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades y la Agencia Estatal de Investigación,
a través de la Convocatoria: Maria de Maeztu 2017 (BOE 21/10/2017) siendo la referencia de nuestro expediente: MDM-2017-0714

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