What are Nature Based Solutions (NBS)?
Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) are solutions that are inspired and supported by nature, which are cost-effective, simultaneously provide environmental, social and economic benefits and help build resilience. NBS therefore not only help shield cities from the effects of climate change, they also generate significant co-benefits.
Why do we need to protect ourselves from the effects of global warming?
Earth’s climate is rapidly changing. Already, average global temperature has risen 1°C above preindustrial levels. There’s an urgent need for immediate, large-scale action to mitigate climate change: to sharply reduce global greenhouse-gas emissions and shift the world onto a low-carbon trajectory.
At the same time, we must take rapid action to adapt to climate change. As the increase in extreme weather events around the world demonstrates, climate change is no longer a thing of the future, it is very much our present. We are already experiencing the effects of climate change, and must prepare for worse to come.
Cities, in particular, are vulnerable to the effects of climate change. The built environment in cities absorbs heat, causing cities to become far hotter than rural, less densely built areas: the so-called Urban Heat-Island Effect (UHI). Cities also struggle with maintaining a sustainable water cycle: because of the high amount of paved, impermeable surfaces in cities, water has a harder time penetrating the soil and replenishing groundwater supplies. This is expected to cause water shortages as climate-induced water scarcity rises. At the same time, the impermeableness of the urban territory often increases flood risk.