Nature can help us address the climate crisis.
Combined with transitioning away from fossil fuels, natural climate solutions offer immediate and cost-effective ways to tackle the climate crisis—while also supporting healthy, thriving communities and ecosystems.
What are natural climate solutions?
Natural climate solutions are actions to protect, better manage and restore nature to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and store carbon.
For example: practices that improve forest management can help forest owners increase the carbon stored in their trees; reducing fertilizer use results in fewer greenhouse gas emissions; restoring coastal wetlands sequesters carbon in submerged soil.
Science shows that—combined with cutting fossil-fuel use and accelerating renewable energy—natural climate solutions can help us avoid the worst impacts of climate change.
What is the science behind natural climate solutions?
In 2017, The Nature Conservancy led a landmark study that showed how natural climate solutions to protect, better manage, and restore forests, grasslands and wetlands could contribute a third of the emissions reductions we need to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. The authors developed a framework to distill the exisiting evidence into a taxonomy of natural climate solutions pathways that account for the full climate potential of nature.
Our groundbreaking study found that natural climate solutions can provide one-third of the mitigation needed by 2030 to keep global temperatures livable.
Since then, TNC scientists and partners have continued investigating how, when and where to invest in natural climate solutions to deliver on the world's most urgent climate goals. Our experts have published more than 50 studies that demonstrate the power of natural climate solutions in the United States, Canada, Indonesia and around the world.
Natural Climate Solutions (Griscom et al.)
Groundbreaking research by TNC and 15 other institutions, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Read key takeaways from the study
More NCS Research
Explore our Natural Climate Solutions Resource Center to see the latest science, research and case studies demonstrating how nature can help increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions around the world. See a list of studies about NCS
What are the other benefits of natural climate solutions?
Research has also demonstrated that natural climate solutions offer a host of co-benefits for nature and people, including cleaner air and water, richer soil, more biodiversity and resilient communities.
What do natural climate solutions look like in practice?
Working with nature provides proven pathways, such as improving the way working forests are managed, planting cover crops and restoring tidal wetlands, that can be implemented now.
Conserving ecosystems in a healthy state instead of converting them for other intensive uses like development avoids the release of greenhouse gasses.
Actions such as improving the way forests are managed or expanding cover crops to keep soil healthy can significantly increase the amount of carbon sequestered by forests and fields. These actions may also reduce operating costs or provide new revenue streams to foresters, farmers and ranchers.
Planting trees in cities, replanting formerly forested land or bringing back natural flows to coastal wetlands and peatlands will increase carbon capture. These actions can support construction, engineering and conservation jobs in the short term and deliver strong climate mitigation and habitat benefits in the long term.
Other Tools and Resources
Natural Climate Solutions Resource Center
We've collected the latest science, research and case studies demonstrating how nature can help increase carbon storage and avoid greenhouse gas emissions around the world. See a collection of our NCS research.
The Nature Conservancy advances natural climate solutions through many strategies, including high-quality carbon markets. Learn how we strive for excellence in carbon markets.
This global coalition promotes the critical role that nature plays in restoring balance to our climate. Get news and updates from Nature4Climate.
This coalition of 26 conservation, environmental, and sustainable business organizations works to ensure forests, farms, ranches, grasslands and coastal wetlands are an important part of the overall strategy to fight climate change in the U.S. See real-world examples of NCS in action across the U.S.