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The United States Launches a Nature-Based Solutions Strategy to Combat Climate Change

The Biden administration has announced the publication of its Nature-Based Solutions Roadmap, which includes proposed measures such as changing legislation and releasing financing to boost the deployment of nature-based solutions to combat climate change.

John Podesta, leader of President Biden's National Climate Task Force, made the statement during the COP27 climate summit. It is the first U.S. strategy to scale up nature-based solutions.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), nature-based solutions are "actions to protect, sustainably manage, and restore natural and modified ecosystems that effectively and adaptively address societal challenges while simultaneously providing human well-being and biodiversity benefits." Projects focusing on redeveloping forests or wetlands, which conserve or alter the land, promote biodiversity, and enable nature to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere, are often included in the definition. These solutions are one of the most important tools for achieving global decarbonization targets.

Despite the potential impact and efficacy of nature-based solutions to combat climate change, the new Roadmap notes that "they are not embraced at the size and speed that is both feasible and urgently required." The Roadmap identifies several obstacles to accelerating nature-based solutions, including insufficient awareness that causes options to be overlooked, regulatory and policy barriers that may inadvertently favor conventional solutions over nature-based solutions, difficulty accounting for costs and benefits, especially given the long-term nature of nature-based solutions' impact, insufficient funding, limited knowledge and skills, and the need for more research into nature-based solutions.

According to the Roadmap, addressing these six obstacles will substantially enhance the adoption of nature-based solutions.

To address these challenges, the new strategy focuses on a number of key strategic action areas, including updating federal policies and guidance to make it easier to consider and adopt nature-based solutions and recommending that federal agencies do more to prioritize nature-based solutions in funding decisions. The Roadmap suggests increasing the use of nature-based solutions in the design, retrofitting, and management of government-owned buildings. The Roadmap also includes recommendations for expanding government and private sector educational and workforce training opportunities relating to nature-based solutions, and for federal agencies to foster research and innovation on nature-based solutions.

The White House announced in a statement announcing the release of the Roadmap:

"President Biden is dedicated to realizing the full potential of nature-based solutions for attaining climate objectives and combating nature loss, particularly for areas disproportionately affected by climate change and environmental injustices."

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