At the last COP which was held in Egypt climate leaders stated that there is no way to limit global warming to 1.5°C without measures to protect and restore nature.
They concluded that only by taking urgent action to halt and reverse the loss of nature this decade, while continuing to step up efforts to rapidly decarbonise our economies, can the promise of the Paris Agreement be fulfilled. Thus, achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is only possible if action is also taken to achieve a positive impact on nature.
Achieving carbon neutrality is only possible if action is also taken to have a positive impact on nature
Net Zero and Nature Positive are two concepts that become relevant in this context. Both are important in themselves, but together they are even more important to ensure a sustainable future.
The Net Zero concept implies that every greenhouse gas emission produced by human activity can be removed from the atmosphere. This requires emission reduction strategies and emission removal activities such as carbon capture.
Greenhouse gas emissions are the main cause of the climate crisis, which is why it is necessary to reduce and eliminate them when we talk about seeking sustainable development.
The European Union is committed to achieving climate neutrality by 2050, by reducing greenhouse gases by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990.
The Net Zero concept implies that every greenhouse gas emission produced by human activity can be removed from the atmosphere
The term Nature Positive refers to the idea of not only halting the loss of nature, but restoring it by reinforcing the services provided by ecosystems.
Ecosystems provide a wide range of benefits, known as “ecosystem services”, such as wildlife preservation, primary economic activities such as agriculture, livestock, fisheries or mining, protection against erosion… and, of course, carbon capture by trees.
The term Nature Positive refers to the idea of not just halting the loss of nature, but restoring it
Forética, the leading organisation in Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility in Spain, includes the relationship between Net Zero and Nature Positive among the ESG trends that will set the sustainability agenda in 2023.
As indicated in their report ‘ESG Trends 2023. Keys to the Business Agenda for Sustainability’, “to be nature positive by 2030 and to achieve full biodiversity recovery by 2050, together with the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and achieving Net Zero by 2050 to limit the temperature increase by the end of the century to 1.5°C, are the pathways forward modelled by the scientific community to guide the level of ambition in decision-making, accelerate action and motivate partnerships between stakeholders”.
The path towards Net Zero is heading in the right direction with the push for green energy, the development of the hydrogen economy and other renewable gases, agreements to reduce emissions or advances in electrification, although there are still many goals in the short, medium and long term.
On the journey towards zero emissions we must be aware of our responsibility to preserve nature and its biodiversity
However, on this journey towards zero emissions we must be aware that we have a responsibility to preserve nature and its biodiversity, as a way to protect the climate, but also people, animals and ecosystems.
Also in its report ‘Nature’s moment: Steps to be “Nature positive”’, Forética considers that “nature is the cornerstone of sustainability. Biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation is responsible for 50% of global GDP, which is why public and private institutions have started to take Nature Positive as a top-level issue”.
Nature-based solutions (including sustainable agricultural practices, reforestation, the creation of nature sanctuaries, etc.) are vital for strengthening the livelihoods of millions of people around the world, as well as reducing the impact of natural disasters, better managing of resources and, among many other benefits, maintaining an incalculable wealth: the variety of wildlife species that populate the planet.
Net Zero and Nature Positive are the two concepts required in order to achieve sustainable development. It is therefore best to approach both strategies together to reinforce the benefits of one on the other, and vice versa.