Published on
September 26, 2014

A policy brief is published as outputs of a collaboration on REDD+ between WWF’s Forest and Climate Programme and Wageningen University and Research Centre’s REDD@WUR Network.

Policy Brief No. 2: The Contribution of Forests and Land Use to Closing the Gigatonne Emissions Gap by 2020 (September 2014)

In 2010, anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions were already 5 gigatonnes (GtCO2e) higher than they should be in 2020 to limit global temperature increase to 1.5 or 2°C. This "gigatonne gap" grows ever larger. All current mitigation actions still leave us set to have a gap of 8-12 GtCO2e in 2020. This means a pathway of potentially increasing global temperatures by as much as 7.8°C by 2100, with devastating consequences to the Earth's ecosystems and human populations. Action needs to be urgent; it cannot wait for post-2020 commitments to be agreed upon in 2015.

This brief explores the contribution that agriculture, forestry and other land uses (the AFOLU sector) can make to start reducing emissions immediately. We take a comprehensive approach that regards forest conservation and other land uses not as isolated activities, but as integrated systems that need to become sustainable. The brief discusses why the AFOLU sector is key, what can be achieved through action on it, existing barriers, and some ways forward.