Balancing Competing Demands for Land

Climate change is putting additional pressures on already stressed land and water resources and the populations they support. Increasingly, solutions to the climate crisis involve land resources—whether for siting renewable power sources, substituting biofuels for fossil fuels, or compensating for declines in agricultural productivity. All of this creates near-term tradeoffs and conflicts that jeopardize human health and well-being, natural habitat, open space, biodiversity, and the integrity of natural carbon sinks. Land policy is critical to balancing collective good and private interests, and to deploying climate solutions rapidly and equitably.

We work at different scales—from analyzing how individual projects are implemented to evaluating international and national policy frameworks—to illuminate the impact of these demands on human and natural systems and identify more holistic and participatory approaches to planning, designing, and implementing mitigation strategies that benefit communities in multiple ways.

President’s Message: How to Fend Off Land Speculation

Climate chaos is affecting people around the world, including in the United States, and it is far past time to do something about it. To avert the most catastrophic impacts of this global crisis, we must transition to net-zero emissions by 2050 by investing in clean energy, electrifying our transportation, improving the energy efficiency of buildings, and removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.  

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Demands on the Land: To Secure a Livable Future, We Must Steward Land Wisely

Since the world first negotiated a climate treaty in 1992, three precious decades have ticked by while we’ve allowed a climate challenge to evolve into a climate crisis. The latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released this spring, eschewed the moderate language of the staid scientific body, making it clear that society faces an urgent crisis and must act.  

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Protesters hold signs opposing a planned hydroelectric corridor in Maine

Gridlocked: How Land Use Battles Are Hindering the Clean Energy Transition   

One consensus in combating climate change is emerging: electrify everything, using power from renewable sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. Removing fossil fuels from electricity generation can be surprisingly smooth, as clean power facilities have rapidly become more cost efficient. Renewables currently represent 20 percent of US power generation, and that figure is steadily growing. 

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Land-Based Mitigation Strategies and Their Implications for Local Communities in the Global South 

This paper focuses on possible effects of nature-based solutions (NbS) for carbon mitigation on local communities and is based on a review of the available scholarly literature, grey literature, and reporting on the topic emerging from international news agencies. 

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Our Experts

Headshot of Amy Cotter

Amy Cotter

Director of Climate Strategies

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Cambridge, Massachusetts

Headshot of Patrick Welch

Patrick Welch

Associate Director of Climate Strategies

Lincoln Institute of Land Policy

Cambridge, Massachusetts