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Natural-Born Climate Commitments

Although most countries have acknowledged the threat posed by climate change and established targets for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, the international community still has not made the same level of commitment to environmental conservation. Yet it is our natural ecosystems that will save us from catastrophe – if we let them.

WASHINGTON, DC – When world leaders gather at the 25th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP25) in Madrid from December 2-13, they will discuss concrete steps for meeting and increasing national emissions-reduction targets. But equally important, COP25 offers an opportunity to elevate one of the most powerful tools we have to address climate change: nature.

Nature-based solutions (also known as natural climate solutions) leverage the world’s forests, grasslands, wetlands, and soils to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Healthy ecosystems absorb and store carbon on their own. And if they are protected, restored, and managed sustainably, they can provide one-third of the emissions reductions needed to meet the Paris climate agreement’s goal for 2030.

In other words, nature is offering us an opportunity that we cannot afford to miss. Reducing fossil-fuel emissions is crucial, but it will not be enough to keep global warming below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C, relative to pre-industrial levels. To secure a livable future on this planet, we also must commit to funding nature-based solutions. All countries need to start incorporating nature-based solutions into their national climate pledges, and begin investing accordingly.

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