The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee, Chaired by Lord Patel, is conducting an inquiry into Nature-based Solutions for Climate Change to assist in achieving the UK’s target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. The deadline for receiving written evidence submissions is Thursday 30 September 2021.
In recent years, there has been a renewed focus on nature-based solutions (NbS) to help address societal challenges, including climate change. These solutions are based on protecting, managing, restoring, or creating natural or modified ecosystems, on land or in marine environments. These techniques can mitigate climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases or reducing emissions from the land-use sector. They also aim to provide co-benefits, such as enhanced protection for biodiversity, improved health, water security, increased resilience to extreme weather events, and broader adaptation to climate change.
The UK is host to many natural ecosystems such as peatlands, seagrasses, and woodlands that have historically been degraded or lost. Following a recent methodology change, land use in the UK has now been identified as a net source of greenhouse gas emissions (Defra, 2019 UK Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Final Figures, 2 February 2021). This issue could worsen with additional climate change, although it may be possible to address land use emissions using nature-based solutions.
Successful implementation of nature-based solutions requires careful, site-specific planning, stakeholder engagement, financing and regulation. Systems must be created for accurately measuring, modelling, reporting and verifying the effects of interventions on ecosystems and carbon emissions. Nationally and internationally, concerns around financing, governance, and delivery of ambitious pledges must be addressed. The size of the potential mitigation contribution from nature-based solutions remains unclear.
The Committee seeks to understand the potential of nature-based solutions to contribute to Net Zero emissions in the UK; how nature-based solutions can fit into the UK’s broader land use, forestry and agricultural planning; and how policy can support the implementation of best-practice techniques to deliver nature-based solutions at scale.
The Committee is seeking evidence on the following questions (there is no requirement to answer all questions in your submission):
1.What is the potential scale of the contribution that nature-based solutions can make to decarbonisation in the UK?
2.What major scientific uncertainties persist in understanding the effects of nature-based solutions and affect their inclusion in carbon accounting, and how can these uncertainties be addressed?
3.What frameworks already exist for the regulation and financing of nature-based solutions?
4.Who are the key stakeholders for the implementation of nature-based solutions in the UK? How can stakeholders’ expertise and concerns inform the incentives and requirements for implementing nature-based solutions?
5.How should implementation of nature-based solutions be integrated with other government policies for landscapes and seascapes, for example, agricultural, forestry, and land-use planning policies?
6.How should nature-based solutions be planned and monitored at the national level?
21 July 2021