Leslie and other Arnavan Island Rangers search for, jump on, catch, and tag turtles for research
Leslie Rubaha catches a turtle Leslie and other Arnavan Island Rangers search for, jump on, catch, and tag turtles for research © © Tim Calver

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IPCC report flags critical role for forgotten solution in climate fight

Report shows the planet is running out of opportunities to create a path to 1.5°C target, but nature has the ability to help get us there

The United Nations has released today its Special Report on climate change. The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report highlights the inadequacy of current efforts to decarbonize the global economy and underscores the urgent need to accelerate action across all sectors and countries if we are to achieve the goals set down in the Paris Agreement. The report also points to the critical, yet underappreciated role that nature can play in tackling climate change.

Will McGoldrick, Global Climate Strategy Director for The Nature Conservancy (TNC) issued the following response to the IPCC’s findings:

“The IPCC report is a sobering reminder that we’re still not on track to achieve the goals outlined in the Paris Agreement. If we’re serious about keeping global warming well below 2 degrees Celsius and striving for no more than 1.5 degrees, we cannot afford further delay.”

“In addition to making deep cuts to global emissions, we need to increase efforts to remove carbon from the atmosphere. The best way to do that is to protect, restore and sustainably manage our forests, grasslands and wetlands.

“Our own scientists have told us that we don’t have a chance of getting near 1.5°C or even 2°C without nature playing a major role.  TNC studies show that carbon removal through natural climate solutions – reforestation, improving forest management, soil carbon sequestration, restoring coastal wetlands, among others – has a positive impact on emissions reduction, is cost-effective, and benefits communities struggling to adapt to the impacts of climate change.

“These natural climate solutions are the world’s most ancient and best proven ‘technology’ to remove carbon from the atmosphere.  Other carbon removal options may prove important over time, but we need to make the most of the ready-made solutions provided by nature.

“There isn’t a silver bullet solution to this challenge. Without a holistic, multi-faceted movement to reduce emissions that includes all of the private sector, as well as governments, there is no chance for protecting people and nature from the effects of climate change.

“We know that the emission reduction commitments made by countries under the Paris Agreement aren’t strong enough to keep global warming well below 2°C, let alone 1.5°C.  But it’s not too late.  While the report plainly shows that we need to accelerate the rate at which we reduce emissions to a scale that has no documented historic precedent, TNC and many of our partners are committed to pushing governments to create and execute ambitious policies and strategies that include natural climate solutions in addition to action in all other sectors.”

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organisation dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we focus on getting things done efficiently and with the greatest positive impact for conservation. We’re a trusted organisation working in 72 countries on innovative solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We’re tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. To learn more about The Nature Conservancy in Australia, visit our website or follow us on Facebook.