Nature-based Solutions: Policy Options for Climate and Biodiversity

Canada’s nature is a fundamental piece of the puzzle for fighting climate change.

However, policies that harness nature-based climate solutions (NCS), without considering biodiversity - and the other important ecosystem services that nature provides - risk undermining Canada’s broader goals to protect nature.

Governments need to consider climate benefits and benefits to nature through a single policy lens, as this can:

  • eliminate negative and inadvertent impacts on nature,
  • lead to better measurement and optimization of benefits for both climate and nature, and
  • lower costs and maximize value through efficient project selection.

Policy tools for advancing NCS include direct public funding, carbon offsets, regulations and pricing mechanisms. Optimizing outcomes using these tools requires a holistic approach to policy development.

This won’t be easy. Policymakers tend to work towards single objectives. Developing a holistic approach will require crosscutting collaboration and multi-faceted analyses that consider a broader range of data. Likewise, a policy structure with multiple objectives can add costs and limit private-sector participation if overly complex.

The first step is to clearly define what we want to achieve and what our societal goals for Canada’s lands really are. This paper assumes that Canada aims to maximize both climate and biodiversity values when developing land-based policies or funding models. Ensuring clarity on these multiple objectives will give us the best chance of reaching our goals while getting the biggest bang for the buck.



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