Natural climate solutions

Bronson W. Griscom, Justin Adams, Peter W. Ellis, Richard A. Houghton, Guy Lomax, Daniela A. Miteva, William H. Schlesinger, David Shoch, Juha V. Siikamäki, Pete Smith, Peter Woodbury, Chris Zganjar, Allen Blackman, João Campari, Richard T. Conant, Christopher Delgado, Patricia Elias, Trisha Gopalakrishna, Marisa R. Hamsik, Mario HerreroJoseph Kiesecker, Emily Landis, Lars Laestadius, Sara M. Leavitt, Susan Minnemeyer, Stephen Polasky, Peter Potapov, Francis E. Putz, Jonathan Sanderman, Marcel Silvius, Eva Wollenberg, Joseph Fargione

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

372 Scopus citations

Abstract

Better stewardship of land is needed to achieve the Paris Climate Agreement goal of holding warming to below 2 °C; however, confusion persists about the specific set of land stewardship options available and their mitigation potential. To address this, we identify and quantify “natural climate solutions” (NCS): 20 conservation, restoration, and improved land management actions that increase carbon storage and/or avoid greenhouse gas emissions across global forests, wetlands, grasslands, and agricultural lands. We find that the maximum potential of NCS—when constrained by food security, fiber security, and biodiversity conservation—is 23.8 petagrams of CO2 equivalent (PgCO2e) y−1 (95% CI 20.3–37.4). This is ≥30% higher than prior estimates, which did not include the full range of options and safeguards considered here. About half of this maximum (11.3 PgCO2e y−1) represents cost-effective climate mitigation, assuming the social cost of CO2 pollution is ≥100 USD MgCO2e−1 by 2030. Natural climate solutions can provide 37% of cost-effective CO2 mitigation needed through 2030 for a >66% chance of holding warming to below 2 °C. One-third of this cost-effective NCS mitigation can be delivered at or below 10 USD MgCO2−1. Most NCS actions—if effectively implemented—also offer water filtration, flood buffering, soil health, biodiversity habitat, and enhanced climate resilience. Work remains to better constrain uncertainty of NCS mitigation estimates. Nevertheless, existing knowledge reported here provides a robust basis for immediate global action to improve ecosystem stewardship as a major solution to climate change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11645-11650
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Volume114
Issue number44
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 31 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
supported in part by US Department of Agriculture–National Institute of Food and Agriculture Project 2011-67003-30205. E.W.’s contribution was in association with the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security, carried out with support from CGIAR Fund Donors and through bilateral funding agreements.

Funding Information:
C. Lehmann, D. Griffith, T. M. Anderson, D. J. Beerling, W. Bond, E. Denton, E. Edwards, E. Forrestel, D. Fox, W. Hoffmann, R. Hyde, T. Kluyver, L. Mucina, B. Passey, S. Pau, J. Ratnam, N. Salamin, B. Santini, K. Simpson, M. Smith, B. Spriggs, C. Still, C. Strömberg, and C. P. Osborne. This study was made possible by funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. P.W. was

Keywords

  • Agriculture
  • Climate mitigation
  • Ecosystems
  • Forests
  • Wetlands

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Natural climate solutions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this