Martin Harvey / WWF

Move aside renewable energy, there's a new climate hero on the block: 🐃

This morning my colleague Nicolas Poolen shared an interesting article from the BBC which explores the role of nine specific species in sequestering and storing CO2. Long story short, maintaining the populations of marine fish, whales, sharks, grey wolves, wildebeest, sea otters, musk oxen, African forest elephants, and American bison is an effective #naturebasedsolution to help us mitigate (and adapt to) climate change.

Of the 9, marine fish have the most potential to help us avoid catastrophe: the researchers estimated these animals they could help absorb up to five billion tonnes of CO2 a year. 😲 That number represents about half of the total amount of carbon we need to absorb annually to achieve net-zero by 2050.

Avital Meijeren Karp
Green Finance Advisor
Read all Avital's blogs

The role of nature in (re)balancing our carbon cycle comes as no suprise to those well versed in environmental studies or ecology. However, the linkage is less clear for those in the investing world. Despite our societal reliance, most ecosystem services like carbon sequestration remain undervalued or ignored by the private sector. Take African Forest Elephants. Economic valuation studies by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have found that each individual elephant is worth USD 1.75 million across its lifetime in carbon storage services. However, African Forest Elephants are now listed as critically endangered by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The main pressure on their populations? Agricultural expansion and poaching.

As key actors needed to fund and support the transition to nature-positive, it’s high time corporates and financial institutions recognize and account for the the profits reaped thanks to wildlife and nature. The World Bank estimates that USD 44 trillion of our global economic value generation is moderately or highly dependent on nature. This number may seem overwhelming, but supporting nature is more straightforward than you’d think.

It all starts with understanding your impacts and dependencies on nature and responding accordingly. For example, through your investments or (global) supply chain. Initiatives like the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures and Science-Based Targets for Nature are well-placed to support this key transition. On a global-level, I hope to see policymakers and world leaders use the upcoming #COP28 in Dubai to align our efforts to mitigate and adapt to climate change with actions that safeguard and protect nature.

Nature, climate, and economy are inherently linked. Money really does grow on trees (and wildebeest!), and the solutions are more simple than you’d think. 🌱 💸

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Luis Barreto / WWF-UK

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