Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that address societal challenges effectively and adaptively, simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits. They are an essential complement to efforts to reduce fossil fuel-related emissions and enable successful global efforts to address climate change and meet the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Peer-reviewed research119 highlights the potential of NbS to reduce Canada’s emissions by up to 78 megatonnes of CO2e annually in 2030—the equivalent of 11% of our 2018 annual emissions.
With around half of global GDP—some USD $44 trillion—estimated to be highly or moderately dependent upon nature, NbS can also play a critical role in supporting economic recovery and job creation. The economic benefits of NbS are especially promising in rural, Indigenous and other resource-dependent communities—many of which are already bearing the brunt of the effects of climate change, and among those most likely to be impacted by transitions in global energy markets. Farmers adopting nature- and climate-positive agricultural practices, for example, can increase their profit margins by as much as 30%, but require at least two years of financial support to transition their operations. With much of the growing demand for carbon offsets expected to be met by nature-based sequestration and avoided nature loss, investments in NbS can also play a critical role in orienting private investment towards natural assets and ecosystems, while supporting the evolution of Canada’s carbon markets.
Amid more frequent and intense extreme weather events, NbS can also support more resilient communities, thereby mitigating or avoiding future costs. When developed and implemented in direct partnership with governments, Indigenous and local communities, and industry, NbS can: contribute to cleaner water, air and food production; protect against wildfires, droughts and flooding; and provide recreational spaces that support better physical and mental health outcomes. NbS can also deliver tremendous air, water, and soil benefits, helping to conserve biodiversity by protecting and restoring habitat for important species.
Upwards of $50 billion will be required to meet the full emissions reduction potential (78 Mt CO2e/ year) and associated co-benefits from NbS by 2030. A down payment of $10 billion by 2025 will enable Canada to reach the halfway mark by capturing the emissions reduction potential of the most readily available and cost-effective NbS. Canada is already well on its way, with $4.88 billion committed through the Natural Climate Solutions Fund (NCSF), and an additional $820 million invested in agricultural climate solutions outside the NCSF. Assuming a NbS dividend of 15% from recent investments in conservation and biodiversity initiatives, natural infrastructure, Green Bonds and other agricultural initiatives, it is reasonable to estimate that Canada has mobilized roughly $7 billion towards NbS. The recommendations in the Nature Conservation and Agriculture sections in this document represent important steps towards bridging the NbS funding gap and advancing the least-costly NbS pathways. By articulating these investments within a predictable and science-based NbS finance roadmap centred on actions with the greatest potential to yield pre- 2030 emissions reductions and co-benefits, the Government of Canada can hold itself accountable for closing the NbS financing gap while stimulating investments from other levels of government and private investors, and maximise near-, mid- and long-term returns across Canada’s biodiversity, conservation, agricultural and other relevant economic development plans and programs.
Mobilize an additional $3 billion for nature- based solutions by 2025, including by funding several Green Budget Coalition recommendations in this document, according to a science-based NbS roadmap structured to maximize emissions reductions and co-benefits.
See table of NbS benefits from budget recommendations in PDF.