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COP26 must utilise nature-based solutions

COP26 must acknowledge the importance of nature-based solutions in combatting climate change, says Lords. 

Following recent evidence gathered as part of an enquiry by the Lords Science and Technology committee, the committee is calling on Alok Sharma to ensure that nature-based solutions are part of the answer to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Nature-based solutions are solutions to societal challenges that involve working with nature to better manage, protect or restore ecosystems. 

In their letter, the Committee urge the COP26 President to ensure that nature based-solutions are included in the COP26 negotiations and final text. 

The Committee highlight that nature-based solutions can help to achieve multiple goals including combating climate change and biodiversity loss, but only if they are well designed, financed appropriately and implemented in line with the following principles: 

  • Nature-based solutions are not a substitute for rapid decarbonisation of all sectors of the economy
  • Nature-based solutions should involve a wide range of ecosystems on land and in the sea, not just tree-planting
  • Nature-based solutions should be designed and implemented in partnership with local communities and stakeholders
  • Nature-based solutions should provide measurable benefits to biodiversity.
  • Protection of existing ecosystems should be emphasised
  • Resilience must be a key factor in the design and implementation
  • Any carbon benefits that are claimed must be rigorous in their accounting
  • Substantial financing and expertise should be provided by wealthy nations to poorer nations.

photography of tall trees at daytime

The Committee also warn that the risk, seen too often from governments historically, is that bold promises on restoring or conserving nature are not fulfilled.

Chair of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee Lord Patel said: ‘The forthcoming COP26 in Glasgow presents the perfect opportunity to highlight on the world stage the importance of nature-based solutions as a way to combat climate change and biodiversity loss. But we need nature-based solutions that are about more than just planting trees or providing ways for companies to greenwash their reputation.

‘In addition to acknowledging the role of nature-based solutions in the COP26 decision text, we urge Parties, including the UK, to enhance their ambition and to include nature-based solutions in their Nationally Determined Contributions alongside increased targets on emissions reductions.

‘The UK’s domestic policies and negotiating stance should be an example to the world as we seek international action to restore and protect the home we share.’

Photo by Steven Kamenar

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