Nature can save humans from climate bad luck-but not on its own


Girardin said the following are things that should not be done: clear forests and plant new trees so that companies can offset their carbon emissions. “We did give examples of the original rainforest being cut down in the paper, so you can plant plantations there to offset someone’s emissions while flying,” she said. “It just doesn’t make sense. Or the community is displaced from the land they used to sustain their livelihoods and planted forests again to get fast carbon gains. This situation simply doesn’t make sense.”

Peter Ellis, the global director of climate science at The Nature Conservancy, was not involved in the new paper. He agreed that planting trees alone to offset someone’s flight mileage would not work. However, restoring the ecosystem to its natural state may make it better prepared to survive our climate change. “A more biologically diverse ecosystem injects greater resilience into future climate impacts,” Ellis said. “And they provide important common benefits that people care about, which will help them continue to invest in maintaining these natural climate solutions.”

This is critical to gaining the recognition of residents who rely on these ecosystems for food and clean water-explaining the direct benefits of reforestation to the local area, not just the long-term benefits to the global community. “Unless you really talk about the benefits of water quality,” said Daniela Mitwa, an environmental economist at Ohio State University. “Many of the benefits provided by trees, the reduction of malaria, or things that locals care about, it is difficult to really get the community to buy. In.”

Miteva is committed to nature-based solutions in northern Uganda and Indonesia. (She is not involved in this new work.) Both countries are struggling to deal with deforestation, but the situation in each place is unique, for example, depending on historical property rights. For example, the government may provide cash to households that have not cleared a particular forest, called “payment for ecosystem services.”

“Unless you can really talk about other benefits related to carbon, it will be very difficult to get this idea accepted locally-at least this is my experience,” Miteva said. “There is also the idea that white people go to the global South and tell people what to do-the whole idea of ​​carbon colonialism.”

Another difficulty is that advocates are trying to deploy nature-based solutions on a planet with a growing population. The more people live on earth, the more land we need to feed everyone. Rich Conant, a biogeochemist who studies nature-based solutions at Colorado State University but was not involved in this new work, said: “There is tension between maintaining and feeding humans while trying to protect the natural biodiversity system. Relationship, this is a challenge.” “Fortunately, I think most of our land for agriculture is underutilized, so I think there is a lot of room to increase land and food production.” This may include improving irrigation and Strategies such as changing crops to increase yields while using the same amount of land.

But it is important to add that people cannot just repair the ecosystem, sit down and let nature do all the work. The same goes for relying on new technologies (such as “direct air capture”). Suck carbon out of the air And lock it underground. This is the moral hazard of climate change: when we should do everything we can to completely-and quickly reduce greenhouse gases, we are distracted by methods.

“The impression that people give is’Don’t worry, nature will save us,'” Ellis said. “This is what keeps me awake at night. First of all, we Yes Naturally, we need to cooperate with it. However, if we want to pull ourselves out of our predicament as human beings and other passengers on the planet, we need to step on the metal pedal and fire on all cylinders. “


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