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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Natural England excellent new report: Relevant to our CWCT project and COP 26

by Ruth Gregg, Senior Specialist for Climate Change at Natural England and lead author of the report, and Mike Morecroft, Principal Specialist for climate change at Natural England and one of the report authors In November this year the world’s attention will turn to Glasgow, where the UN COP26 Climate Summit will be held. This is a critical step in getting the world on track to meet the 2015 UNFCCC Paris Agreement, keeping global temperature rise to well below 2oC and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5oC. To achieve this target global greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) will have to fall by around 45% by 2030 (the UK target is 68% by 2030), and reach net zero by 2050. Net zero means that emissions of GHGs are balanced by removals from the atmosphere. ‘Nature’ is one of the priority campaigns in the run up to COP26 to address the twin threats of climate change and biodiversity loss in a joined up way. Globally, around a quarter of GHGs come from land management activities, including deforestation and agriculture. However, terrestrial and marine ecosystems take up carbon dioxide equivalent to over half of the emissions caused by people. The challenge is to reduce anthropogenic emissions and increase uptake by ecosystems, storing carbon in soils, sediments and vegetation. Natural England has just published a new report reviewing carbon storage and sequestration by natural habitats in England. It takes an overview, looking across the full range of habitats so we can build up a clear, quantitative picture of which store most carbon, sources of emissions, and where the best opportunities are to promote carbon uptake (sequestration). It updates our previous 2012 report on this subject taking account of the new scientific literature and the increased importance of the issue for conservationists, farmers, foresters, policy makers and others.

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