The Business Case for Natural Climate Solutions: Insights and Opportunities for Southeast Asia [REPORT]
How can natural climate solutions be leveraged to achieve their full potential? What is the role of the private sector, and where are the opportunities for businesses to invest in natural climate solutions?
Natural Climate Solutions can provide over a third of cost-effective climate mitigation needed worldwide to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and keep global warming below 2°C. Photo credit: Joel Vodell on Unsplash
Nature already mitigates a significant portion of man-made GHG emissions; approximately a quarter of these emissions are absorbed by trees, plants, and soil, while another quarter is absorbed into marine systems. Yet, if protected, sustainably managed, and restored, nature has the power to do even more.
Natural Climate Solutions (NCS) are climate mitigation technologies that harness natural processes to reduce or remove greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. With the potential mitigation impact of 11 gigatons of CO2 annually, NCS can provide over a third of cost-effective climate mitigation needed worldwide to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 and keep global warming below 2°C. Yet, less than 3% of global climate finance is going towards NCS, signaling a clear mismatch between NCS potential and what is invested in that potential.
Support from the private sector plays a critical role in scaling NCS implementation. Businesses can catalyse significant reductions of GHG emissions through investments in NCS – not only to address their own company’s footprint, but also to drive transitional change for entire sectors. Conversely, NCS presents a wealth of opportunities to businesses – with a range of motivations – in achieving their internal corporate goals, while also supporting the advancement of national climate targets within their countries of operation.
This joint report by Conservation International, DBS Bank, National University of Singapore (NUS) and Temasek highlights opportunities for businesses to invest in NCS – particularly those in Southeast Asia – to stimulate the implementation of NCS at scale.
Recommendations for businesses
- Include NCS in climate plans. Investment in NCS, and especially offsets, should be part of a broader portfolio of climate action inclusive of decarbonisation, aimed at reaching net zero by 2050 in line with the Paris Agreement.
- Commit to quality. The private sector has a unique and critical role in scaling NCS by purchasing and committing to high quality carbon credits at fair and transparent prices; supporting business model development and technical innovation for project design, implementation, and verification; and supporting national and jurisdictional government priorities, particularly to align with emerging national frameworks for NCS and provide clarity on ownership of credits to avoid double counting.
- Invest in science and innovation. Investing in deeper, science based spatial analyses to quantify the full scope of both NCS and co-benefits captured would ensure a better and more targeted return on investment, help measure impact, and potentially fetch higher prices.
- Support policy development and enabling conditions. The evolving landscape of climate change requires policy coherence and strengthening enabling conditions in countries to meet the requirements of carbon markets post 2020. Regional policy and investments in policy development are critical to scaling NCS in Southeast Asian countries.
The report was launched at an Ecosperity Conversations webinar. Watch the webinar recording for a 25-minute presentation of the key insights from the report, followed by a panel discussion with the report project team.