Five years ago, when the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change was adopted, storing planet-warming carbon in ecosystems such as tropical forests, wetlands and coastal mangroves was not seen as a major part of the solution. Now officials and environmentalists say goals to limit global temperature rise cannot be met without nature’s help. Ahead of a U.N. “Climate Ambition Summit” to mark the fifth anniversary of the Paris accord on Saturday, held online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they said threats to plants, wildlife, human health and the climate should be confronted together. “It is time for nature to have a more prominent role in climate discussions and solutions,” said Brian O´Donnell, director of the Campaign for Nature, which works with scientists, indigenous people and conservation groups. “Global leaders can no longer deal with the climate and biodiversity crises in isolation if we are to be successful in addressing either of them,” he added in a statement. It noted scientific estimates that protecting the planet’s ecosystems could provide at least a third of the reductions in emissions needed by 2030 to meet the aims of the Paris pact. Under that deal, nearly 200 countries agreed to limit the average rise in global temperatures to “well below” 2 degrees Celsius and ideally to 1.5C above preindustrial times. But the Earth has already heated up by about 1.2C and is on track to warm by more than 3C by the end of the century, the United Nations said this week. Understanding has accelerated in recent years about the crucial role ecosystems on land and sea play in absorbing carbon emitted by human activities – mainly from burning fossil fuels – and curbing potentially catastrophic planetary heating. In 2019, a U.N. climate science report said the way the world manages land, and how food is produced and consumed, had to change to curb global warming – or food security, health and biodiversity would be at risk. Zac Goldsmith, Britain’s minister for the international environment and climate, said nature had been “left behind” and life on the planet was being exhausted at a “terrifying speed”, as forests were cut down and seas polluted. “We are denuding the world at a rate that would have seemed impossible to humans a century ago,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “It is not possible for us to tackle climate change properly unless we also restore nature – the two are inseparable,” he added in a phone interview. SUPPLY CHAINS As host of the next major U.N. climate negotiations in November 2021, in Glasgow, the British government has vowed to put protection for forests and natural systems firmly on the political agenda. Goldsmith said the COP26 team was aiming to build a global coalition of governments and businesses committed to preventing deforestation in supply chains. That follows a proposed new UK law requiring large companies to ensure the commodities they use – such as cocoa, rubber, soy and palm oil – are not linked to illegal forest clearing.