Harness power of nature-based solutions to fight climate crisis: G20 ministers

Source: Down to Earth

Relevance: Fighting climate change

Synopsis: India can leverage the global best practices regarding Nature-based solutions (NbS) to fight against the climate crisis. Significance of NbS and discussion of its major roadblocks.

Background

In the recently concluded meeting of The environment, energy and climate ministers from the ‘Group of 20’ on in Naples, the Ministers expressed their commitments towards addressing the challenges presented by urbanization, climate change and biodiversity loss. A major emphasis was placed on the inclusion of nature-based solutions (NbS) in the fight against the climate crisis.

Nature-based solutions (NbS)

Nature-based solutions to climate change involve conserving, restoring or better managing ecosystems to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. It is a relatively new concept and still at a nascent stage of development. However, certain countries of G20 have begun implementing this concept already, like

  1. Argentina – It launched the Forest AR2030 platform to boost environmental sustainability through massive restoration programmes. The initiative aimed to restore two million hectares of forested land.
  2. Canada – It is establishing a natural climate solutions fund that will be investing $4 billion over the next 10 years.
  3. European Union – It is among the top leaders of NbS. It has implemented numerous projects and funding programmes like Horizon 2020
  4. China has been aggressively pursuing the NbS since the 1998 mass flooding. They have established more than 20,000 miles of levees systems.
    • Levee is an embankment built to prevent the overflow of a river.
Significance for India

India can potentially leverage these global practices and harness multiple benefits by implementing NbS.

  1. Protecting coastal cities – Planting mangroves can play a crucial role in climate-proofing India’s coastal cities
  2. Mitigating Urban Heat Islands – NbS can be an effective tool in mitigating urban heat island problems.
  3. Creating resilient cities – By protecting cities against urban flooding and improving air quality.
    • Programmes such as GrowGreen, funded by the European Union or the Sponge City programme in China, have been exemplary examples of managing urban floods and addressing urban heat stress.
  4. Fulfilling international obligations – NbS effectively link the long-term agenda of ecosystem restoration announced by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Sendai framework and others.
Major roadblocks

The failure of developed countries  to mobilize $100 billion Climate fund post the Paris Agreement, 2015 and secure new financial resources for the implementation of NbS in developing countries is acting as major roadblock for effective implementation of NbS.

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