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Press Release: Over 360 organisations say "No to Nature Based Solutions!"

15 March 2022

Ahead of a vital UN moment for biodiversity, "nature-based solutions" are once again being erroneously heralded as the solution - and NGOs are pushing back. As more and more corporations and governments tout "nature-based solutions" as the means to fight the climate and biodiversity crises, over 360 organisations have come together to launch a statement exposing them as “nature based dispossessions” that will cause huge new land grabs and promote harmful practices like monoculture tree plantations and industrial agriculture.

At the 15 March press conference, speakers from Gabon, Brazil, India and the US will highlight community experiences with the “nature-based solutions” precursor REDD in Brazil’s Green Economy laboratory Acre, share why communities in Gabon are saying No to the gigantic Grande Mayumba “nature-based solutions” landgrab, and how the Boomitra soil carbon scheme is being pushed in India.

From 14-29 March, the UN Convention on Biodiversity (CBD) will resume talks in Geneva on a Global Biodiversity Framework to halt biodiversity loss. The concept of "nature-based solutions" is expected to be a controversial issue at the talks, with some governments pushing for it while many governments from the global South are concerned about more loopholes for carbon offsets. An IPCC report due to be released later this month is likely to lend more unwarranted credence to the "nature-based solutions" concept, as the UN climate COP26 talks in Glasgow did.

In a statement released today 364 organisations, networks and movements and 128 individuals from 69 countries expose these “nature-based dispossessions”, warning of harmful practices such as the expansion of monoculture tree plantations and industrial agriculture lurking behind the "nature-based solutions" marketing/greenwashing ploy. They call for a rejection of "nature-based solutions", because these carbon offset schemes in disguise are not designed to slow climate breakdown. Rather, "nature-based solutions" are a means for corporations to continue, and even increase, their greenhouse gas emissions.

Speakers from Gabon, Brazil, India and the US will highlight community experiences with the “nature-based solutions” precursor REDD in Brazil’s Green Economy laboratory Acre, share why communities in Gabon are saying No to the gigantic Grande Mayumba “nature-based solutions” landgrab in Gabon and how the Boomitra soil carbon scheme is being pushed in India).

"Nature-based solutions" promotes the illusion that plants and soils can undo the climate damage caused by carbon emissions from fossil fuel burning. This is a dangerous deception and provides window dressing for “net-zero” pledges from governments and corporations. Instead of agreeing on the drastic emissions reductions needed to prevent climate chaos, they make false, inaccurate claims that "nature" will remove enough excess carbon from the atmosphere to avert catastrophe.

  • The Italian energy company Eni says it will still be using fossil fuels to generate 90% of its energy by 2050. To offset these emissions, it will need the entire potential of all of Italy’s forests to absorb the carbon. That is 8 million hectares for Eni's net-zero claim.
  • The net zero targets of just four of the big oil and gas corporations alone (Shell, BP, Total and Eni) could require an area of land twice the size of the UK.
  • The “net-zero" plan of world's largest food company, Nestlé, could require 4.4 million hectares of land per year for offsets.

These are just three of the many corporate net-zero pledges that will cause unspeakable harm to peoples and territories in the global South. The reality is that corporate demand for "nature-based solutions" will enclose living spaces of Indigenous Peoples, peasants and forest-dependent communities on a massive scale.

To avert catastrophic climate chaos and biodiversity loss, the destruction of underground fossil carbon stores must be stopped and frontline communities must be supported and protected. "Nature-based solutions" must be halted in its tracks. They are dangerous distractions from ending fossil fuel burning, and will result in massive land grabs aimed at dispossessing Indigenous Peoples and rural communities in the global South.

No to the dangerous deception of "nature-based solutions"!

Notes for editors:

  1. The full statement is available here in: English, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Bahasa Indonesia
  2. ENI’s offsetting pledge: https://www.eni.com/en-IT/low-carbon/forest-protectionconservation.html
  3. Nestlé’s offsetting pledge: https://www.nestle.com/asknestle/environment/answers/nestle-climate-change
  4. Reference for the Shell, BP, Eni, Total: https://www.foei.org/wpcontent/uploads/2021/11/Nature-based-solutions_a-wolf-in-sheeps-clothing.pdf
  5. Links to video and photos:

    Video:
         • Communities from Gabon call for suspension of Grande Mayumba NbS project
    Photos:
         • Gabon: Communities call for suspension of Grande Mayumba NbS project - Nov 2021 - PH Muyissi Environnement. Photo 1 - Photo 2.
         • Brazil: Demonstration against REDD in Xapuri, Acre. December 2018.

Press contacts:
For spokespeople please contact: Jak Wagnon, Communications Coordinator at RFUK

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