Service on Biodiversity and Traditional Knowledge (Sept20/03)
We are pleased to share with you a new Briefing Paper published by Third World Network and the African Centre for Biodiversity, titled “Nature-based solutions or nature-based seductions? Unpacking the dangerous myth that nature-based solutions can sufficiently mitigate climate change”. (https://twn.my/title2/briefing_papers/twn/NBS%20TWNBP%20Sep%202020%20Stabinsky.pdf)
“Nature-based solutions” (NbS) is a widely used but vaguely defined term. It means a range of things to different people, including many positive actions and approaches, such as agroecology and ecosystem restoration. But a group of actors are using the term to drive a particular agenda related to biodiversity and climate change, the understanding of which is essential to understanding the current politics around NbS. This brief describes that agenda and how NbS is used within it.
In particular, the hype over NbS relies on the myth that the carbon-sequestering possibilities of nature can compensate for (or in technical carbon market terms – offset) the continued burning of fossil fuels. But offsets do not reduce the overall concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; at best, they result in no net emissions. Carbon markets and offset myths are useful for those who want to continue with business as usual. This obscures the urgent need to stop fossil fuel emissions, with the failure to do so causing more biodiversity harm and exacerbating land grabbing and conflicts over land. We must learn to separate genuine nature-based solutions from nature-based seductions, such as carbon offsets.
Tackling climate change requires both ending the burning of fossil fuels and doing all we can to take carbon that has accumulated from the previous century of fossil emissions out of the atmosphere. We need to both decarbonize our societies and enhance the carbon removal and sequestration possibilities within our planet’s ecosystems over the next few decades.