Key to understanding the discussion around Natural Climate Solutions is understanding the terms commonly-used in scientific studies, policy briefs and other literature. This glossary is compiled from a variety of sources, including government agencies and non-profit organizations, to provide plain-English definitions of these terms. Links to the original sources are provided after each definition. In some cases, terms were edited for clarity.


30×30 is an effort by the United Nations Convention on Biodiversity to help solve climate change and reduce the decline of wildlife, waterways and natural places by conserving at least 30% of the Earth’s land and ocean by the year 2030. (UN CBD)

Conservation Easements

Conservation Easements are voluntary legal agreements between a landowner and a land trust or government agency that permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Landowners retain many of their rights, including the right to own and use the land, sell it and  pass it on to their heirs. (LTA)

Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. This goal will be achieved when everyone enjoys the same degree of protection from environmental and health hazards, and equal access to the decision-making process to have a healthy environment in which to live, learn, and work. (US EPA)

Green Infrastructure

Green Infrastructure, also known as Natural Infrastructure, are projects that utilize natural systems such as forests, floodplains, and soils to contribute to clean, reliable water supply and protect against floods and drought. In many circumstances, combining this “green infrastructure” with traditional “gray infrastructure,” such as dams, levees, reservoirs, treatment systems, and pipes, can provide next generation solutions that enhance system performance and better protect communities. (WRI/World Bank)

Land Trusts

Land Trusts are nonprofit organizations that, as all or part of its mission, actively works to conserve land by acquiring land or conservation easements (or assisting with their acquisition), and/or stewarding/managing land or conservation easements. (LTA)


Net-Zero refers to achieving a balance between emissions produced and emissions taken out of the atmosphere via such activities as carbon offsets. (Global N4C)