Natural climate solutions are conservation,
restoration and improved land management actions that increase carbon
storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in landscapes and wetlands
across the globe. Combined with innovations in clean energy and other
efforts to decarbonize the world’s economies, natural climate solutions
offer some of our best options in the response to climate change.
New research, led by The Nature Conservancy and 15 other institutions*, and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
demonstrates that nature-based solutions can provide up to 37
percent of the emission reductions needed by 2030 to keep global
temperature increases under 2°C—30 percent more than previously
The framework of this study distills nature’s full
climate potential into 20 mitigation pathways. The pathways span three
biomes—forests, grasslands (including agricultural lands and rangelands)
wetlands (including peatlands, seagrass and mangroves) and climate
reduction practices based on conservation, restoration and land
Their mitigation potential is evaluated under
three economic scenarios: no economic restraints for implementation;
realistic costs for achieving climate goals of <2°C-degree warming;
and only low-cost implementation opportunities.
Read our case studies to learn more about natural climate solutions in different geographies and land-use sectors.
Watch a short video that explains how natural climate solutions work.
"Land use is a key sector where we can both reduce emissions and absorb carbon from the atmosphere. This new study shows how we can massively increase action on land use – in tandem with increased action on energy, transport, finance, industry and infrastructure – to put emissions on their downward trajectory by 2020. Natural climate solutions are vital to ensuring we achieve our ultimate objective of full decarbonization and can simultaneously boost jobs and protect communities in developed and developing countries."
- Christiana Figueres, convener of Mission 2020 and former head of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
*Institutions: Department of Biology,
James Madison University; Woods Hole Research Center; Department of
Agricultural, Environmental, and Development Economics, Ohio State
University; Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; TerraCarbon LLC;
Resources for the Future; Institute of Biological and Environmental
Sciences, University of Aberdeen; College of Agriculture and Life
Sciences, Cornell University; Ministry of Agriculture, Government of
Brazil; Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory & Department of
Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Colorado State University; World
Resources Institute; Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research
Organization (Australia); Laestadius Consulting LLC; College of
Biological Sciences, University of Minnesota; Department of Geographical
Sciences, University of Maryland; Department of Biology, University of
Florida; Wetlands International; Gund Institute for Ecological
Economics, University of Vermont