Reimagining Nature-based Climate Solutions to Meet Our Policy Goals

June 15, 2022

Recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports have confirmed that rapid deployment of nature-based climate solutions (NbS) is essential to meet global Paris Agreement compatible pathways. Nature-based climate solutions include restoration, protection, and improved management across forests, wetlands, rangelands, agricultural lands, oceans, and urban spaces. NbS approaches such as regenerative agriculture, forest restoration, and green infrastructure, confer concurrent benefits within and beyond the landscapes they improve. They can reduce emissions; build resilience; protect biodiversity; improve water and air quality; and create jobs and recreational opportunities. 

In order to fully utilize well-known NbS approaches, address governance challenges, existing gaps in planning and implementation, and advance the use of NbS in subnational climate policies, we are calling for a reimagining of NbS in our new report, Achieving a Multi-Beneficial Nature-Based Climate Strategy: An Institutional Framework for Advancing Subnational Climate Action

NbS are often conceived in a narrow sense, centered on greenhouse gas emission reduction actions and allocating supplemental  “co-benefits.”  This has led to siloed approaches and leaves behind a primary reason for using NbS — they are intrinsically multi-benefit. We know that climate issues are linked to other challenges. This means that our approach to addressing climate should be as well.

In order to spur this reimagining, this paper sets forth an institutional framework to support the integration of NbS into subnational policymaking. Following the diagram below, our framework includes key principles to guide the work and institutional approaches to translate principles into action. 

 A Framework for Integrating Nature-based solutions into Climate Policy

Our institutional approaches with a selected recommended action are:

Integrating nature-based climate solutions (NbS) into our climate policies and related plans, strategies, and regulations is an essential tool in our policy toolbox. Through applying our NbS Governance Framework, subnational governments can utilize the powerful and well-tested NbS approaches to reduce emissions, build resilience, and make our society better places for us all to live and thrive.