The Wildlife Conservation Society is encouraged by the recognition and emphasis on the role of nature-based solutions in the Draft COP26 Decision proposed by the UK Presidency.

In its preamble, the draft recognizes that:

“The global interlinked crises of climate change and biodiversity loss, and the critical role of nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches in delivering benefits for climate adaptation and mitigation.”

The mitigation section of the draft:

Emphasizes the critical importance of nature-based solutions and ecosystem-based approaches, including protecting and restoring forests, in reducing emissions, enhancing removals and protecting biodiversity;”

Said Dan Zarin, WCS Executive Director for Climate Change:

“To successfully mitigate the climate emergency, governments and businesses need to rapidly do 2 things: Drastically reduce emissions in every sector of the global economy, and protect forests.

“The need to reduce emissions is well-understood, and includes decarbonizing energy, industry, transportation and buildings, as well as halting and reversing emissions from forestry and agriculture.

“Our climate also depends on forests acting as a CO2 sponge, removing from the atmosphere about 30% of the CO2 we emit each year — roughly equivalent to all of China and Russia’s annual fossil fuel emissions combined.  We would be about ½ degree warmer without this sponge. More if we account for non-CO2 impacts of tropical forests on climate. Evan an extra ½ degree of warming would cost the global economy, at a minimum, tens of trillions of dollars, and its impacts would also further impoverish the world’s remaining wild places.”

“We hope the final COP decision is strengthened even further in its ambition and commitment to meet the urgency of the moment. In that context, WCS is encouraged by and supports the commitment of the governments of both the United States and China, the world’s two largest emitters, to do more to cut emissions this decade.”