Nature as a critical climate solution: Busting the myths around nature-based solutions
Briefing Room 12.09.23
Photo: Alexandra Dementyeva/Unsplash
It is well documented by social psychologists that humans have a ‘negativity bias’. This bias is the highly prevalent human tendency for negative information and experiences to overwhelm the positive – and goes a long way to explaining why we felt the need to publish this report.
The science is clear: we cannot achieve the Paris Agreement’s global climate goals without harnessing the power of nature-based solutions (NbS) for both climate mitigation and adaptation. Since we began in 2017, the Nature4Climate coalition has been working collectively to campaign for government and private sector action to protect, manage and restore nature to help address the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Given the inherent positivity in that mission, you would think it unlikely that it would attract too much criticism. But you’d be wrong.
We know that nature is a critical climate solution, but high levels of disinformation are discrediting viable solutions and drastically slowing or even halting action. There has been a consistent and persistent drip-feed of negative sentiment and media coverage targeted at nature-based solutions to climate change. In some cases, projects and corporate approaches are deserving of such attacks – and of course, scrutiny across the board is always welcome. But the effect of blanket criticism and sensationalist headlines is counter productive. Why would we want to discourage companies, governments and individuals from investing in a nature-positive future?
We need nature-based solutions to provide up to a third of the mitigation required by 2030 in order to keep our global climate goals in reach. Investing in nature-based solutions will provide other valuable benefits and resiliency, such as the protection of ecosystems and biodiversity, increased resilience to climate impacts, provision of clean air and water, restoration of degraded lands and support for local sustainable livelihoods.
To overcome the prevailing misconceptions and promote an “and-and” narrative, Nature4Climate has put together this paper to bust the most-frequently cited myths around nature-based solutions and natural climate solutions.
The report examines each of the myths in turn as they often lead to misleading headlines such as ‘forests are no longer our climate friends’ and claims that forest carbon credits are ‘worthless’. This myth-busting approach tackles areas such as pitting technology and nature against each other; removals vs reductions; regenerative farming; corporate claims and greenwashing; and a whole section on nature-based carbon credits and the voluntary carbon market.
I hope that you will find the report useful. Our intention is to respond to the negative narrative with a positive approach – in the hope that decision-makers will continue to prioritise action and investment in nature-based solutions.
“Our intention is to respond to the negative narrative with a positive approach – in the hope that decision-makers will continue to prioritise action and investment in nature-based solutions.”
Lucy Almond, Chair, Nature4Climate