Right now, variations of land-based climate solutions appear in more than 75 percent of individual country commitments to the Paris Agreement, yet renewable energy, energy efficiency and clean transport together receive nearly 30 times the amount of public mitigation investment that land-based solutions receive. Of the funding that is set aside for natural climate solutions, the vast majority tends to focus on tropical forest protection in developing countries. But this study shows that a variety of natural climate solutions—including those in grassland, agricultural and wetland ecosystems—are relevant across the globe and can have a large impact on almost any country’s emissions. Furthermore, these solutions bring added social and environmental benefits, such as cleaner air and water, sustainable food production and increased habitat.
Climate change is the largest and most complex environmental crisis we have ever seen. Mobilizing natural climate solutions doesn’t mean that we should cut back on the research and development of renewables, electric cars, energy efficiency methods. Nor is action on natural climate solutions a substitute for ceasing to burn fossil fuels. Rather, in addition to low-carbon measures, they are the only realistic way to achieve sufficient emissions reductions to defeat climate change.
While looking forward, we can’t lose sight of one of the most important solutions—just under our feet.
Learn more about natural climate solutions: explore TNC features and case studies, and access the full report at nature.org/ncs.