Natural Climate Solutions
Natural climate solutions – also referred to as nature-based climate solutions – embrace the power of nature to reduce the effects of and adapt to climate change all while supporting biodiversity. For example, forests, wetlands, grasslands, and farmland have the ability to absorb and store large amounts of carbon (CO2), reduce the effects of climate change, keep our air and water clean, and provide habitat for wildlife.
“Nature-based solutions are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits.” – International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Reducing greenhouse gases (GHGs), supporting biodiversity and building resilience
Natural climate solutions can be used to limit or reduce the effects of climate change by restoring ecosystems and enhancing their ability to capture carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and store it in trees, other long-lived plants, and in soil.
Natural climate solutions can also include forest management practices, wetlands, peatlands and grasslands conservation, and adopting farmland management practices that capture and hold CO2 in the ground. This prevents the release of harmful GHGs.
Natural climate solutions also help communities and nature adapt to climate change by cooling the air or reducing risks from wildfires and floods.
We’re using natural climate solutions by:
Forests and trees absorb and store greenhouse gases. They support biodiversity, regulate water levels, protect shorelines from storm surges and erosion, and even cool cities. We will work with diverse partners across Canada to plant two billion incremental trees (e.g., above what is legally required post-harvesting) over ten years. This will include targeted support for Indigenous-led projects, forest habitat restoration and projects that contribute to community resiliency, while creating green jobs in both rural and urban areas. There is no path to achieving our goal of net-zero GHGs by 2050 without forests and trees.
Canada will work with provinces, territories, conservation organizations, Indigenous communities, private landowners, and others to restore and enhance wetlands, peatlands, grasslands and agricultural lands to boost carbon sequestration. This initiative will support improved land and resource management practices in sectors that have some of the greatest potential to store more CO2 while also conserving carbon-rich ecosystems. These actions will provide important habitat for species along with other benefits for biodiversity and for people.
The Agricultural Climate Solutions program aims to establish a strong, Canada-wide network of regional collaborations led by farmers and including scientists and other sectoral stakeholders. Together, they will develop and share management practices that best store carbon and mitigate climate change. This work will also help protect biodiversity, improve water and soil quality, and strengthen farmers’ bottom lines.
Did you know: “Natural climate solutions can provide over one-third of the cost-effective climate mitigation needed between now and 2030 to stabilize warming to below 2 °C.”Footnote 1
Benefits for all Canadians
Natural climate solutions allow us to:
- decrease net GHG emissions
- advance reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
- support biodiversity and habitat for wildlife
- adapt rural and urban communities to the harmful effects of climate change
- increase the resilience of our nature-based economic sectors, including agriculture
- create green jobs in communities across the country
These benefits will add up over time, and will provide us with cleaner air and water, protect us from the effects of climate change, and improve our quality of life.
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