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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.

A woman holds a young mangrove shoot being replanted on the shores of Grenville Bay, Grenada. Mangrove forests are some of the most carbon-rich forests on the planet. Coastal wetland restoration has the potential to store 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year. Photo © Tim Calver
A woman holds a young mangrove shoot being replanted on the shores of Grenville Bay, Grenada. Mangrove forests are some of the most carbon-rich forests on the planet. Coastal wetland restoration has the potential to store 200 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent every year. Photo © Tim Calver

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 estimated.

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 management.

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.

Video: What are Natural Climate Solutions?

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.

For the full press release, click here. For media inquiries, contact Kirsten Ullman at kullman@tnc.org.


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Report: Lands of Opportunity

For a more comprehensive exploration of strategies for implementing natural climate solutions, download Lands of Opportunity: Unleashing the Full Potential of Natural Climate Solutions.

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"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


Natural Climate Solutions