Banking on nature to fight climate change

From rainforests to wetlands, nature has some of the best tools to fight climate change. Now investors are planning on pouring billions of dollars into a market that promotes conservation and rewards investors with carbon credits to sell to big polluters. The first of a two-part special looks at the potential of the market, who is investing and what is needed to really get it off the ground.

The Katingan-Mentaya Project forest is a living laboratory that is home to many ecosystems and a wide range of plant and animal species.PHOTO: SYANE LUNTUNGAN

The vision is grand, the outcome could be just what the planet needs: investing billions of dollars to save vanishing nature and fight climate change at the same time.

The foundations of such a market already exist. Called the voluntary carbon market, it focuses on the ability of nature to soak up huge amounts of planet-warming carbon dioxide (CO2). Developers of conservation projects earn a return by selling carbon credits to buyers, usually big companies, to help them meet their climate goals.

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