Media Coverage

Mongabay Features Expert Comments on Natural Climate Solutions

UNU-IAS expert Suneetha Subramanian called for adopting a holistic approach to the concept of natural climate solutions.

On 20 February 2024, Mongabay, an environmental science and conservation news platform, published an article on the concept of natural climate solutions (NCS) and the principles that should define them.

The article highlights confusion around the definition of NCS, stemming from their growing popularity. It explores a recent study published in the journal Nature Communications, which defines five foundational principles of NCS: they must be (i) nature-based; (ii) sustainable; (iii) climate-additional (i.e. provide measurable, additional positive climate benefits); (iv) measurable; and (v) equitable.

Suneetha Subramanian (Research Fellow, UNU-IAS) provided comments on the ongoing debate around the definition of NCS. She stressed the importance of adopting a holistic approach to the concept, to consider the interconnectedness of climate, biodiversity and human well-being.


Suneetha M. Subramanian, a sustainability institute research fellow at the United Nations University in Tokyo, who works on biodiversity and human well-being, says debates and interventions focused solely on climate, without considering people’s rights and biodiversity issues, can be short-sighted. She points out that leaving out values of nature that aren’t “measurable” in metrics such as CO2e, as outlined in the proposed principles, can set a “dangerous trend.” Instead, she argues that we need to find approaches to integrate complex metrics, such as how humans interact with their environment in evaluating climate mitigation actions. “By ignoring some of the interconnectedness that lies in such climate, biodiversity and human well-being realms, we are doing a huge disservice to such lived experiences,” Subramanian says, and as a result, “solutions themselves have become problems.”

The full article is available on the Mongabay website.