How nature-based solutions help reduce carbon emissions
By: Shell Energy
02 Jun 2020
We’re going the extra mile to make your home energy carbon neutral with our Go Further tariff. But how do we balance out the emissions caused by your home energy? It’s all done through nature-based solutions.
Tackling carbon emissions by protecting natural ecosystems
There are many ways to reduce carbon emissions around the world, and one approach is to protect and restore natural ecosystems that can absorb carbon dioxide, such as forests, grasslands and wetlands. This is known as nature-based solutions.
In the UK, Shell is working with Forestry and Land Scotland to establish around a million trees across the forest estate over the course of five years. And with reducing carbon dioxide emissions being a global effort, Shell is also working with two important projects in Cordillera Azul (Peru) and Katingan Mentaya (Indonesia). These projects provide job opportunities for local communities, as well as helping to reduce CO2 emissions globally, which is good news for everyone, including us here in the UK.
Nature-based solutions, or natural climate solutions, are projects which protect, transform or restore these natural ecosystems so that nature can absorb more CO2 emissions from the atmosphere.
Nature-based solutions activities can also lead to the creation of ‘carbon credits’ where each credit represents the avoidance or removal of greenhouse gases equivalent to one tonne of CO2. These carbon credits can then be marketed, traded and bought as a way to help compensate for emissions.
These projects can also have extra benefits, such as offering alternative sources of income to local communities, improving soil productivity, cleaning air and water, and maintaining biodiversity.
Cordillera Azul (Peru)
At Cordillera Azul, 1.6 million hectares of threatened forest is being protected through improved management, resulting in the safety of 28 high conservation value species and as of December 2018, a total of 20 million tonnes of emissions reductions.
Katingan Mentaya (Indonesia)
The Katingan Mentaya Project area was under threat of forest clearance. This would have resulted in the draining of its underlying peat, and the release of 447 million tonnes of CO2e (carbon dioxide equivalent - a useful way of measuring carbon footprints, by calculating different types of greenhouse gases and their equivalent impact in terms of CO2) over 60 years. The project offered an alternative, saving both the forest and the vulnerable species living within it, making it the largest forest carbon project of its kind.
Forestry and Land Scotland
Forestry and Land Scotland manage and protect 640,000 hectares of Scotland’s national forest estate on behalf of the Scottish government. That is equivalent to 25 times the size of Edinburgh. The estate, which makes up approximately 9% of Scotland’s total land area, is able to absorb around three million tonnes of CO2 each year. Back in 2019, Shell started working with the Forestry and Land Scotland team to establish around a million trees across the forest estate over the course of five years. This is not producing carbon credits yet, as it’ll take time to prepare, establish and grow the trees.