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The Carbon-Free Regions Handbook: Land Use

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Land use issues present both a great threat and a great opportunity to climate goals. Some 24% of global greenhouse gas emissions come from agriculture, forestry, and other land use, but this sector can also offset this impact by 20% by removing carbon from the atmosphere.

Land use is best approached at the state, provincial, and regional government scale. Cities miss most of the rural impacts associated with land use. Land use matters also tend to cross subnational jurisdictions, making regional solutions necessary. These recommendations can also provide a variety of benefits for preserving and promoting biodiversity.

Developed in partnership with the Under2 Coalition 

Action 20: Sustainable Land Management

Description

Promote policies that create, conserve, and expand high-carbon landscapes like natural grasslands, forests, peatlands, mangroves, and wetlands, and strengthen and enforce laws that combat deforestation.

Action Documents

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The Department of Caquetá promotes the restoration of ecosystems in order to improve the capacity for resilience and increase carbon sequestration.

‐Álvaro Pacheco Álvarez, Governor, Departament of Caquetá, Colombia

Action 21: Open Space Conservation

Description

Preserve and conserve forests, grasslands, and other open space by identifying important natural resources, using local ordinances and state laws to protect land, and acquiring critical open space that can sequester carbon.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources

Action 22: Agricultural Methane Capture

Description

Promote methane capture from livestock waste through financial incentives and improved biogas infrastructure, and by strengthening the market for biogas system products.

Action Documents

Recommended Resources

Reducing the methane emissions generated by small- and medium-sized swine farms has high benefits for sustainable development and allows us to accelerate progress toward the decarbonization of our agricultural sector.

‐Eduardo Batllori Sampedro, Minister of Urban Development and Environment, Yucatan, Mexico

Action 23: Regenerative Agriculture

Description

Provide education, training, and incentives to enable farmers and ranchers to transition to new, more sustainable forms of agriculture and land management that help sequester carbon.

Action Documents

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Buildings

More efficient buildings provide multiple benefits including lower emissions, greater comfort, improved health, and lower ongoing costs.

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Mobility

Regional governments can enable cities to invest in better mobility options, lowering emissions while increasing mobility choices and improving health.

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Electricity

Ensuring that our electricity comes from renewable or zero emission sources is critical to a cleaner and more resilient future.

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Industry

Regional governments provide the right scale to support industry—the foundation of many regional economies—in transitioning to low-carbon solutions.

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Land Use

Sustainable and regenerative agriculture, forestry, and other land use can help offset some of the large emission impacts that this sector produces.

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Waste

Managing waste in a sustainable manner can reduce greenhouse gas emissions while also creating economic opportunities.

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Finance

Regional governments can organize and deliver financial solutions to enable all the recommendations covered in the Handbook.

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