There is growing recognition in the United States that the actions required to spare us from the worst impacts of climate change can also serve as a powerful engine for job creation and economic recovery. The economic benefits of decarbonizing our energy and transportation sectors are relatively clear – large-scale efforts to install wind turbines and solar arrays, build electric vehicle charging stations and cap leaking gas wells will require
s a large workforce, potentially creating employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of Americans.
Natural Climate Solutions — conservation, restoration and improved land management strategies that remove carbon dioxide from the air – can also play a large role in tackling climate change. Indeed, natural and working lands have the potential to reduce overall emissions in the United States by up to 30 percent. Like other climate solutions, these actions can also serve as a powerful mechanism for restoring our economy by creating jobs, generating new sources of income for farm and forest owners and managers, and providing a wide range of economic benefits to underserved and frontline communities across America.
In addition to the direct economic benefits of Natural Climate Solutions, they provide significant indirect economic benefits by also protecting water quality, improving soil health, increasing resilience to floods and drought and providing crucial habitat for wildlife. When one considers the significant benefits that Natural Climate Solutions provide to people and nature, it is clear that they are a win-win solution for our environment and our economy.
The U.S. Nature4Climate coalition has reviewed reports, case studies, and research about the economic value of Nature Climate Solutions. We hope the collective weight of this information will increase public awareness of the numerous benefits of Natural Climate Solutions, elevating these solutions as an integral part of the overall strategy to combat climate change and restore our economy. Over the next month, U.S. Nature4Climate and our coalition partners will highlight the potential of Natural Climate Solutions to help spur an equitable and robust economic recovery in the United States.
Our campaign is themed around the following facts:
- Investment in Natural Climate Solutions creates jobs: Planting trees in both rural and urban areas helps create good new jobs while pulling carbon out of the air; these projects also help stimulate the outdoor recreation economy. For example, investing $4-4.5 billion dollars in tree planting can create up to 150,000 jobs. Environmental restoration programs focused on restoring coastal, forest and grassland ecosystems can create up to 40 jobs for each million dollars invested.
- Natural Climate Solutions can serve as a mechanism for advancing equity, particularly in urban communities: Urban forestry programs are a particularly powerful force for reducing inequality in low-income neighborhoods and communities of color. Recent research indicates widespread inequality in tree cover between low-income and high-income neighborhoods. A program to plant 31.4 million urban trees a year can create nearly 230,000 new jobs. Urban trees can also reduce home energy costs up to 7%, while also reducing health care costs.
- Natural Climate Solutions provide new sources of income for owners and managers of farms and forests: Farmers and foresters across America want to be a part of the solution to climate change – and in many cases, already are. Adoption of soil health practices have been proven to increase income and lower costs for farmers over time. Robust and credible carbon markets can also provide a new source of income for farmers and forest owners, while helping companies meet ambitious sustainability goals.
Please visit our new campaign page, www.usnature4climate.org/win-win, and the U.S. Nature4Climate blog to learn more about the powerful role Natural Climate Solutions can play in our economic recovery.
Nathan Henry is the Project Manager for U.S. Nature4Climate.