The climate crisis is often looked at in terms of reducing environmental impact through fossil fuels and waste, ignoring biodiversity and ecological projects. The drive to reduce carbon emissions is not often talked about in tandem with conservation, healthy ecosystems and species extinction. A number of conferences between global organisations between 2019 and 2020 is looking to unite these areas, looking to encourage more countries to commit to protecting nature and using nature-based solutions to combat with the climate crisis.
Article: How can the biodiversity and climate crises be tackled together? – Climate Change News
Key points on nature based solutions to the climate crisis
The TL;DR for this article. Here we present the main takeaways:
- Carbon dioxide and other environmentally harmful emissions, which have contributed to the climate crisis, aren’t just lingering in the air. They are being absorbed by ecosystems.
- Ecosystems, like forests, mountains and marshes, are currently absorbing 25% of harmful global emissions.
- The oceans are absorbing another 25% of the dangerous emissions, which is causing ocean acidification.
- Some of these natural ecosystems are better “sponges” for harmful emissions than others. For example:
- Coastal areas such as mangroves, salt marshes and sea grass soak up carbon 40 times faster than tropical forests.
- Peatlands are the largest, dry land carbon stores and cover 3% of the land surface globally.
- Cornerstone species are animals which perform key roles within ecosystems, allowing them to function optimally and support the global environment. Some examples are:
- Beavers – their dam construction supports wetlands.
- Pangolins – they protect forests from termite ravaging.
- African elephants – in forests, by stomping vegetation they encourage large trees to grow, which can absorb more carbon than small plants.
- Scientists are calling for more nature-based solutions to the climate crisis, which will also benefit biodiversity.
- These solutions could enable a 40% cut in carbon emissions needed to limit global warming (to less than 2 degrees by 2030).
- Currently, less than 3% of climate funding is applied to nature based solutions.
- Conservationists have placed part of the blame for the lack of investment in nature based solutions on bureaucracy and interdepartmental communication. But this is set to change, with a number of biodiversity inclusive international summits:
- In autumn 2020 – China will host the 15th Conference of the Parties (COP) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), focusing on new biodiversity targets.
- In late 2020 – China and New Zealand are leading a UN working group on nature based solutions, ahead of the climate action summit.
- Both of these are intended to offer practical solutions that can be included in the Paris Agreement (a global framework for combating climate change).
What’s The Solution?
In order for biodiversity to be taken seriously as part of the climate crisis solution, there needs to be ways to apply the solutions and they need to be committed to by countries around the world. Not all nature based solutions will be right for every country but where an ecosystem is functioning in a valuable way or can be restored to a form that will have a positive impact on carbon emissions, it needs to be invested in.
Read The Reference, Check The Sources
You can find it here: How can the biodiversity and climate crises be tackled together? – Climate Change News
It includes data from the following sources:
- Global Assessment Report on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – IPBES
- Global Assessment Summary for Policymakers – IPBES
Closing Press Release: Summit delivers major step up in national ambition and private sector action on pathway to key 2020 climate deadline – United Nations