With more than half of the global population residing in urban areas, cities are at the frontline of adaptation to climate change. For example, the global percentage of urban areas threatened by flooding is set to approximately double if the Earth warms by 2 degrees Celsius, and will triple in a 3.5°C warming scenario. As world leaders meet at the United Nations Biodiversity Conference (COP15) in Montreal to discuss targets to reverse environmental degradation, the critical role of nature in climate adaptation should not be overlooked.
While urbanization has been one of the main drivers of environmental degradation, an analysis of the Carbon Disclosure Project’s (CDP) 2022 Cities Adaptation Actions database reveals that only 16% of cities include nature-based solutions in their climate adaptation plans.
Preserving and restoring ecosystems can help mitigate climate risks while unlocking a broad range of socioeconomic co-benefits, according to Marsh McLennan’s Embracing Nature report. Reforestation, for instance, can help mitigate flooding and heatwaves. The wetlands in the East Coast of the U.S. reduced the economic losses caused by Superstorm Sandy in 2013 by more than half a billion dollars.