U.S. rolls out ‘nature-based’ climate solutions at COP27

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Nov. 8 (UPI) — From reforestation to the restoration of marshes, the U.S. government on Tuesday unveiled nature-based policies to address climate concerns from the sidelines of the COP27 summit on the environment in Egypt.

The White House released a roadmap that outlines ways that best-management and conservation practices can provide solutions to the current climate crisis. The situation is so dire, said U.N. Secretary-General Anthony Guterres, that the world “is on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.

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The roadmap is a first for the U.S. government dealing with what it sees as nature-based ways to address climate change.

“Examples include protection or conservation of natural areas, reforestation, restoration of marshes or other habitats, or sustainable management of farms, fisheries, or forests,” the White House said. “These actions can increase resilience to threats like flooding and extreme heat, and can slow climate change by capturing and storing carbon dioxide.”

A federal report on natural sources of carbon sequestration such as forests finds that these terrestrial carbon sinks can remove and store as much as 30% of the carbon dioxide associated with human activity each year. That’s equivalent to not burning 1.2 trillion gallons of gasoline each year.

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At issue, however, is that from 2015-2020, the world lost about 10 million hectares of forested land each year.

The White House said it was setting up a working group to support the federal government’s efforts to find cost-effective, nature-based solutions at home. There’s already $20 billion outlined in the Inflation Reduction Act to help farmers, rangers and private landowners find ways to increase their carbon storage, while another $5 billion targets forest management.

Elsewhere, the government said the Federal Emergency Management Agency is already looking at revisions to its floodplain management system to preserve wetlands and marshes, other valuable carbon sinks.

The federal government is looking for ways to meet its goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 50% of their 2005 levels by 2030 and conserving at least 30% of federal lands and waters by 2030.