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McKinsey and WEF: "there is no clear path to deliver climate mitigation without investing in nature"

McKinsey and the World Economic Forum have published a new report which argues that Natural climate solutions (NCS) are critical to deliver climate mitigation .

Their analysis is that nature climate projects could yield nearly a third of necessary climate change mitigation - mainly from avoided deforestation and peatland impact, reforestation, and soil sequestration in agriculture.

Barriers include lack of consensus on how to treat NCS in corporate claims on climate action, combined with low public confidence in the effectiveness of past NCS schemes in contributing to real emissions reduction. There is a widespread suspicion that companies may be tempted to use NCS offsetting as an excuse to avoid fully addressing their own carbon footprint.

Other inhibitors to investment include the absence of an agreed-upon method to measure and recognize co-benefits of NCS for biodiversity, soil and water quality, and community livelihoods. There are challenges to ensuring that NCS projects produce carbon reductions that are genuinely additional (that is, reductions that would not have happened otherwise) and permanent. In the past, this overall lack of confidence has manifested itself in low price levels and oversupply of carbon credits in general, and of forestry credits in particular.

The paper proposes six steps to address these deficiencies:

  1. Define net-zero and corporate claims

  2. Highlight good practice for supply

  3. Send a demand signal

  4. Improve market architecture

  5. Create regulatory clarity

  6. Build trust

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