Nature United (NU) last week released its peer-reviewed study titled Natural climate solutions for Canada (the Study). The Study outlines and provides substantial research into the mitigation potential for natural climate solutions (NCS) to reduce Canada’s GHG emissions and help contribute to meeting Canada’s commitments under the Paris Agreement and reaching net-zero by 2050. NCS are action to protect, manage, and restore forests, grasslands, agricultural lands, and wetlands. This bulletin provides an overview of the key findings of the Study.
The Study determines that Canada may reduce its GHG emissions by up to 78 Mt CO2e annually in 2030, representing 11% of Canada’s current annual emissions. Specifically, the Study identifies the following NCS and their potential for reducing emissions:
- Agricultural Land. Improved agricultural practices would reduce emissions by 37.4 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Grasslands. Protecting and sustaining grasslands from conversion would reduce emissions by 12.7 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Wetlands. Protecting wetlands as well as peatlands from harvesting and avoiding disturbance would reduce emissions by 13.5 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Forests. Conserving old-growth forests in managed forests lands, not burning woody residues for conversion into bioenergy, and maintaining and planting trees would reduce emissions by 3.8 Mt CO2e/yr.
The Study explored the mitigation potential of protection, management, and restoring pathways for NCS at both $50/t CO2e and $100/t CO2e, noting the expected new jobs and revenue streams for Indigenous communities, farmers, ranchers, and foresters. Key findings include:
- Protect. The mitigation potential for protection pathways for NCS are 7.6 Mt at $100/t and 6.4Mt at $50/t.
- Manage. The mitigation potential for management pathways for NCS are 30.3 Mt at $100/t and 19.6Mt at $50/t.
- Restore. The mitigation potential for restoring pathways for NCS are 1.7Mt at $100/t and 0.3Mt at $50/t.
The Study estimated the annual mitigation potential for each province, determining that Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec, British Columbia, and Manitoba have the greatest potential to mitigate emission. The key finding for the maximum mitigation potential for each province are as follows:
- Saskatchewan: 15 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Ontario: 10 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Quebec: 8 Mt CO2e/yr.
- British Columbia: 7 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Manitoba: 5 Mt CO2e/yr.
- New Brunswick: 5 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Alberta: 4 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Nova Scotia: 2 Mt CO2e/yr.
- P.E.I: 0.2 Mt CO2e/yr.
- Newfoundland and Labrador: 0.03 Mt CO2e/yr,