‘Natural Climate Solutions’ emerging as a critical strategy for climate change mitigation

‘Natural Climate Solutions’ emerging as a critical strategy for climate change mitigation

News Type: State, Regional, Federal Source: Network for Landscape Conservation

Late last year, The Nature Conservancy and collaborators from around the world published an article in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences that highlighted the critical value of ‘natural climate solutions’—conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. In particular, the study found that cost-effective natural climate solutions can account for more than one-third of the emissions reductions needed to achieve the goals established in the Paris Climate Agreement—a full 30% more than previously estimated (read overview of the findings).

 

Such nature-based and relatively low-cost solutions for climate mitigation are increasingly drawing attention. For instance, a recent article in PLOS ONE highlighted the cost-effectiveness of nature-based adaptation measures—including wetland and oyster reef restoration—in the Gulf of Mexico. Elsewhere, a Conservation Finance Network articlehighlighted on-the-ground collaborative efforts in New Jersey to strategically locate and fund nature-based restoration projects to reduce the risk of future coastal flooding. And the Global Landscapes Forum’s third annual investment case symposium in June provided a platform for investors, business leaders, and policymakers to discuss ways in which private capital can drive increased investment in resilient and climate-friendly landscapes. Finally, an Anthropocene article highlights recent research (published in Nature) seeking to put a price tag on the cost of not effectively responding to climate change: the benefits of reaching climate mitigation goals are 40 times greater than the costs associated with doing so. In fact, the researchers estimate that reaching the Paris Climate Agreement goals could save the world more than $20 trillion—or $6 trillion in the United States alone. What is becoming clear is the critical importance of renewed attention to our landscapes—at and across scales—for cost-effectively mitigating the impacts of climate change.