Experts in climate change and nature-based solutions (NBS) are calling for wetlands to play a much larger role in countries’ climate mitigation efforts going forward. The Alliance for Global Water Adaptation (AGWA) and Wetlands International suggest in a new report that now is the most important time to properly value wetlands for their carbon storage potential, as countries are in the midst of revising and updating their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) to the Paris Agreement on climate change
"Locking Carbon in Wetlands: Enhancing Climate Action by Including Wetlands in NDCs", produced with support from German Development Agency GIZ, is written for policymakers and national climate planners to provide the scientific rationale behind the integral role of wetlands — and especially peatlands — within the global carbon cycle.
John Matthews, Executive Director of AGWA, said: “Slowing the rate of climate change is arguably the most important action we as a species need to pursue now, today. But in our focus on tailpipes, smokestacks, and forests, we've missed one of our most important levers: how wetlands trap and store carbon. Paleoclimate records show that wetlands can be an accelerator or brake pedal for climate change. With this guide, we show how decision makers and resource managers can slam on the carbon brakes globally -- removing carbon from the atmosphere while storing that carbon from future circulation. At the same time, we will be securing these wetlands for all of our adaptation needs, today and into the future".
Jane Madgwick, Chief Executive Officer of Wetlands International said: “The world is currently headed for 3˚C global warming and is already faced with continuous disasters. To close the emissions gap, land use has to change dramatically. That means changing how we store, manage and allocate water. Wetlands, from source to sea, are the premier land-based water and carbon stores. And safeguarding and restoring wetlands, including river floodplains, marshes, peatlands, deltas and coastal ecosystems like mangroves, is essential to slow climate change and enable adaptation. The science and technical know-how for this is well established. Organisations are ready to support planning and implementation. We urge countries to include wetlands as a focus in their NDCs and reap the reward of a ‘triple-win’: reduced carbon emissions, avoided future emissions and resilient, biodiverse land and water systems. All of this is needed as a basis for a healthy, prosperous society".