Nature-Based Solutions Might Help Countries Reach Net-Zero

An increasing problem that has come to the forefront more than ever in recent years, major work must be done to substantially slow climate change — and nature-based solutions might be the answer. In fact, many companies are relying on these strategies to meet their Paris Agreement goals.

In fact, nature-based climate solutions took on a larger role than ever at the U.N. COP26 in Glasgow, held in late 2021. Here’s a look at what this term means and the impact it could have on future climate initiatives.

What are nature-based climate solutions?

Originally defined as ways to work with nature for climate change adaptation and biodiversity conservation, nature-based solutions have recently taken a turn toward combating climate change, according to U.K.-based climate science, climate policy, and energy policy news site Carbon Brief. Activities work to increase carbon storage or avoid greenhouse gas emissions.

Solutions are often divided into three categories — ecosystem conservation, ecosystem restoration, and improving land management practices. However, there is a growing thought that the ocean can also play a crucial role in fighting climate change, according to Carbon Brief.

An analysis of several natural climate solutions conducted by Carbon Brief revealed they could provide a notable portion of the required emissions reductions needed to get to below 1.5 degrees Celsius — effectively eliminating the need for bioenergy with carbon capture and storage. This is especially true when paired with faster emissions reductions during upcoming decades.

The Call for Net-Zero

More than 130 countries — along with many companies, cities, and financial institutions — have set or are contemplating a goal of achieving net zero by mid-century, according to the United Nations. This is a critical long-term goal, but first it’s imperative that major emissions cuts happen in the next five to 10 years, to ensure global warming doesn’t surpass 1.5 degrees Celsius.

As much participation as possible is crucial, but especially from the countries releasing the most greenhouse gas. Notably, the 10 highest greenhouse gas emitters contribute more than two-thirds of global emissions, according to the U.N. Remarkably, the top three — China, U.S., and the European Union — are responsible for 46% of emissions.

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