Last updated:
May 24, 2024

Nature-based Solutions vs Engineered Solutions

Key Differences between Nature-based Solutions and Engineered Solutions

  • Co-Benefits: NbS offer a range of environmental and social co-benefits, enhancing ecosystem and community resilience. In contrast, engineered solutions primarily focus on direct emission reductions and removals.
  • Implementation and Scalability: While NbS can be cost-effective and provide long-term benefits, they may take longer to implement and are subject to natural vulnerabilities. Engineered solutions offer quick, scalable solutions but come with higher initial costs and potential technical barriers.
  • Availability and Pricing: Given the novel nature of the technologies behind engineered solutions, many of them are not available at scale yet, meaning that supply of many engineered solutions is quite limited, and prices are often quite high. Conversely, NbS solutions make up the majority of the available project supply, making these types of projects easier to source at competitive prices.
  • Permanence: NbS generally have a carbon sequestration period of up to 100 years, while engineered solutions can store carbon for an indefinite period exceeding 100000 years.

What are Nature-Based Solutions (NbS)?

Nature-based Solutions (NbS) make use of natural processes and ecosystems to mitigate climate change. Examples include reforestation, wetland restoration, and urban green spaces. These solutions are cost-effective over time, providing extensive co-benefits like biodiversity conservation and water regulation. That being said, NbS can often be slow to implement, while also being vulnerable to climate impacts.

What are Engineered Solutions?

Engineered solutions make use of engineered processes and innovative technologies to mitigate climate change. This includes carbon capture and storage (CCS), direct air capture (DAC), and renewable energy technologies like solar and wind power. TbS are characterised by their rapid scalability and high predictability, though they often require significant investment and infrastructure, with limited co-benefits beyond emission reduction/removal.

types of avoidance and types of removal carbon credit projects

Choosing the Right Projects for Your Portfolio

Project portfolio mix

Selecting the right mix of NbS and engineered solutions for a climate mitigation portfolio requires considering your organisation's goals, investment capacity, and the desired balance between immediate impacts, carbon storage period, and sustainable benefits. A diversified portfolio that leverages the complementary strengths of both NbS and engineered solutions can offer a robust approach to addressing climate change and addressing Net Zero targets.

Not sure where to start? Get in touch with the Senken team and we will set you on the right path.

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