Report | January 2024

Natural allies

The world must scale every possible solution to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crises. Looking beyond energy, Natural Climate Solutions offer near-term, scalable, and cost-effective options to reduce emissions while capturing carbon in the biosphere. However, their deployment is hindered by insufficient policies and lagging investment. Governments, corporates, and financial institutions can overcome these barriers through synergistic collaboration.

  • By The Nature Conservancy and UBS Sustainability and Impact Institute


Listen to the podcast:

Natural allies. Katharine Hayhoe on solving the biodiversity challenge with nature-based solutions


Katharine Hayhoe discusses nature-based solutions for addressing the climate and biodiversity crises. She explains how the world must invest in and work with nature for the sake of current and future generations.

Executive summary

Our reliance on nature is absolute. Human society can no longer afford to choose between its progress and environmental sustainability. Today, the imperative is clear: The world must invest in and work with nature to address both the climate and biodiversity crises, for the sake of current and future generations.

Leveraging every proven and scalable tool we have to avoid these crises escalating is crucial. Reducing fossil fuel emissions is at the forefront; yet additional climate mitigation strategies are also needed, particularly in the land sector. Natural climate solutions (NCS) offer some of the most immediately scalable and cost-effective options for this additional climate mitigation, reducing greenhouse gas emissions from land use as well as capturing carbon from the atmosphere in the biosphere.

NCS encompass a range of practices aimed at protecting, managing, and restoring forest, grasslands, wetlands, and agricultural lands. However, not all land management practices qualify as effective climate solutions. To be considered as such, they must deliver measurable climate mitigation that exceeds baseline conditions and persists over time. They must not compromise biodiversity and must be equitable and developed in partnership with local communities. When executed effectively, NCS can also contribute to cleaner air and water, improved livelihoods, and more resilient communities.

While new tools are available to optimize climate returns from finite investments, NCS implementation is currently hindered by insufficient policies and lagging financial investment. Governments can help by redirecting subsidies from environmentally harmful activities toward climate-positive ones. Corporations can help by reducing emissions within their own supply chains, financing environmentally sustainable practices, and funding additional climate initiatives through high-quality carbon markets. Financial institutions have a role to play as well, by supporting more climate- and nature-positive investments and fostering new transition finance mechanisms. No sector can accomplish these goals single-handedly. Only through synergistic collaboration can a nature-positive world become reality.

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