Natural climate solutions


#climate change #mitigation #BECCS #natural climate solutions #NCS #IAMs #sustainable development #SDGs

Natural climate solutions

Recently on the renowned journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) there's a review paper on Natural climate solutions (NCS) covering 20 conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. Acknowledging the uncertainty of NCS mitigation estimates, the co-authors found that NCS can provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize warming to below 2 °C. Alongside aggressive fossil fuel emissions reductions, NCS offer a powerful set of options for nations to deliver on the Paris Climate Agreement while improving soil productivity, cleaning our air and water, and maintaining biodiversity.

Based on this publication, Carbon Brief did a further analysis of how NCS could reduce the need for the very controversial bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), which has been used quite dominantly in Integrated Assessment models (IAMs). IAMs also include NCS, particularly reforestation/afforestation, but to a much smaller scale & options compared to BECCS.

Unlike BECCS, which poses potential challenges to both the natural world and food supplies when adopted at such a massive scale, most NCS can also help improve water filtration, flood protection, soil health and biodiversity habitat. This makes these approaches an attractive alternative to BECCS for meeting the negative emissions needed in scenarios that limit warming to below 1.5C. However, scaling it up may prove challenging given the numerous small-scale landholders involved in land management worldwide, as found by Carbon Brief

(Griscom (2017) Natural climate solutions. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 114 (44) 11645-11650)