A satellite view of Lousiville
Urban Heat A satellite view of Lousiville © Courtesy of NASA

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IPCC Report Flags Critical Role for 'Forgotten Solutions' in Climate Fight

Report shows the planet is running out of opportunities to create a path to 1.5°C target, but nature has the ability to help get us there

On Monday the United Nations released its Special Report on climate change.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s report highlights the inadequacy of current efforts to decarbonize the global economy and underscores the urgent need to accelerate action across all sectors and countries if we are to achieve the goals set down in the Paris Agreement. The report also points to the critical yet underappreciated role that nature can play in tackling climate change.    

Will McGoldrick, Global Climate Strategy Director for The Nature Conservancy issued the following response of the IPCC’s findings:

“The IPCC report is a sobering reminder that we’re still not on track to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement.  If we’re serious about keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and striving for no more than 1.5 degrees, we cannot afford further delay.”   

“In addition to making deep cuts to global emissions, we need to increase efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere. The best way to do that is to protect, restore and sustainably manage our forests, grasslands and wetlands.” 

“Our own scientists have told us that we don’t have a chance of getting near 1.5°C or even 2°C without nature playing a major role.  Conservancy studies show that carbon removal through natural climate solutions – reforestation, improving forest management, soil carbon sequestration, restoring coastal wetlands, among others – has a positive impact on emissions reduction, is cost-effective, and benefits communities struggling to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“These natural climate solutions are the world’s most ancient and best proven ‘technology’ to remove carbon from the atmosphere.  Other carbon removal options may prove important over time, but we need to make the most of the ready-made solutions provided by nature.

“There isn’t a silver bullet solution to this challenge.  Without a holistic, multi-faceted movement to reduce emissions that includes all of the private sector, as well as governments, there is no chance for protecting people and nature from the effects of climate change.

“We know that the emission reduction commitments made by countries under the Paris Agreement aren’t strong enough to keep global warming well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C.  But it’s not too late.  While the report plainly shows that we need to accelerate the rate at which we reduce emissions to a scale that has no documented historic precedent, the Conservancy and many of our colleagues and partners are committed to pushing governments to create and execute ambitious policies and strategies that include natural climate solutions in addition to action in all other sectors.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.