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Natural Climate Solutions

Geologist, Alasdair Skelton, discusses three categories of natural climate solutions: forests, wetlands and farms.
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There are three solutions to the climate crisis. We have emission reductions, natural climate solutions, and technical climate solutions. Natural climate solutions need to stand for roughly 20% of the solution to the climate crisis.
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Thinking about natural climate solutions, we can divide them into three groups: Forests, wetlands and farms. Forests are excellent sinks for carbon.
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When trees grow, they take carbon dioxide and water from the atmosphere- -with the help of sunlight, and turn it into wood, leaves, branches and oxygen. We call that photosynthesis. If we cut a tree down, it stops taking carbon out of the atmosphere. Even if we plant the trees again, it takes a while for them to grow big enough- -to take the same amount of carbon out of the atmosphere again. So what do we have to do?
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It’s simple: Protect our forests. In some situations, the trees have been cut down, and then the solution- -is to plant them again, which is called reforestation. What we need to be careful about is planting trees, where there never were trees. Why is that a problem? Well, we’re taking away the habitat of some other species. And it’s not all about ourselves - we are custodians for all species on earth. We need to take care of all of them. We can not take away their homes; we can not just think about ourselves.
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As important as trees are wetlands, because not much oxygen gets into them. And oxygen reacts with carbon, to make carbon dioxide. What that means is that once carbon is stored in a wetland, it stays there. But wetlands take a long time to form, so we need to preserve them- -because wetlands are our friends.
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Farms can also be a part of the solution. Plowing less, cover crops, using satellites- -to map out which fertilizers are needed - these are all great solutions. And when it’s possible, using land for grain and vegetables- -rather than livestock. That means we can feed more people from the same area.

Natural climate solutions need to stand for roughly 20% of the solution to the climate crisis.

Geologist, Alasdair Skelton, explains that we can divide Natural Climate Solutions into three categories: forests, wetlands and farms.

Forests remove carbon from the atmosphere by photosynthesis. But if we cut a tree down, it stops removing carbon. Even if we plant the trees again, it takes time before they take the same amount of carbon out of the atmosphere again. This is why forest preservations is so important. Replanting cut down forests is also an important solution but we need to approach afforestation (planting trees where there never were trees) with caution as we can remove habitats and/or other important sinks for carbon.

Wetlands store carbon because they are anoxic (not much oxygen gets into them). But wetlands take a long time to form. This is why we need to protect them.

Farms can be a part of the solution when actions are taken to encourage carbon storage in farming land. Also, using land for grain or vegetables rather than livestock (if possible) means we can feed more people from the same area.

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