Natural climate solutions can provide up to 37% of the emission reductions needed by 2030 to keep global temperature increases under 2ºC. This is 30% more than previously estimated.
Using only cost-effective solutions, nature's mitigation potential is estimated to be 11.3 billion tons in 2030. That is equal to what would be achieved if we stopped burning oil everywhere!
Many natural climate solutions offer additional benefits, such as water filtration, flood buffering, improved soil health, protection of habitat, and enhanced climate resilience.
Source: The Nature Conservancy
Solving Our Climate Crisis with the Help of Nature
While much of the world’s attention is focused on reducing our use of fossil fuels (which generates nearly 90% of human emissions), scientists are telling us that nature-based approaches are essential to solving our climate crisis. They agree:
- We must limit global temperature increases to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels by 2030.
- The reduction of current greenhouse gas emissions from the energy sector alone is unlikely to be able to limit warming to that level. This is because our mitigation efforts started too late to be able to meet this critical threshold by 2030.
It is true that focusing on energy reduction is essential to prevent runaway climate change. But it also is true that we can adopt conservation and land management strategies to capture and sequester carbon, and meet the widely accept goals of limiting temperatures below 2°C, the recognized target of the Paris Climate Accords.
What Are Natural Climate Solutions?
Natural climate solutions are conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. When combined with innovations in clean energy and other efforts to decarbonize the world’s economies, natural climate solutions offer some of our best options to mitigate climate change. There are many opportunities to scale up some of the most promising nature-based solutions. Afforestation, reforestation, and forest management and protection can sequester and store the most carbon. Other opportunities include agricultural and grasslands management, and wetlands restoration and protection.
Research published in the proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences indicates such nature-based solutions will cost less than the future impacts of climate change are expected to cost society - which is more than $100 per ton of CO2 in the atmosphere, and that they can offer up to 37% of the mitigation needed between now and 2030 for a greater than 66% chance of holding warming rise below 2°C. Click the links below to learn more about each of these solutions and how, if implemented, they can help ameliorate the negative impacts of a growing climate crisis.
Agriculture and Grasslands
Freshwater and Coastal Wetlands