Nature-based solutions and the biodiversity and climate crises

“Nature-based solutions” (NbS) have been defined as “actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural or modified ecosystems that address societal challenges…”. The societal challenge to which NbS are most commonly applied at present is the mitigation of climate change. In this context, emissions of the greenhouse gases that cause global warming, such as carbon dioxide, are sought to be offset by safeguarding forest, soil and other ecosystems which can remove and store atmospheric carbon. While this approach has attracted corporate interest and spawned a huge market for carbon offset credits, the mitigation potential of nature is limited. To effectively counter climate change, there is thus no avoiding the need to reduce emissions to as close to zero as possible.