Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) are initiatives for the protection, sustainable land management and restoration of natural ecosystems that increase carbon storage and/or prevent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. They may involve forests as well as natural grasslands and wetlands and, in addition to combating climate change, help to protect biodiversity, increase the resilience and adaptive capacity of environmental systems and promote development for local communities. The role of NCS in achieving Net Zero is also recognized by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which envisages the use of NCS among the actions to be taken to reduce and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in most of the scenarios compatible with the goal of containing the temperature to within 1.5°C compared to pre-industrial times.
Potential for GHG emission abatement
At a global level, analyses by the United Nations (United Nations Environment Programme and International Union for Conservation of Nature 2021 - Nature-based solutions for climate change mitigation - Nairobi and Gland) estimate that NCS have an overall potential to reduce GHG emissions by between 5 and 12 billion tonnes (Gtons) of CO₂ by 2030, on average 30% of the reduction needed to align the global emission trajectory to a scenario compatible with limiting global warming to within 1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial period.