Protecting nature and fighting climate change must go hand in hand
At the recent COP27, held in November, Biodiversity took centre stage during week two, where the links between climate change and biodiversity loss were highlighted. Here at Carbon Positive Australia, we believe that rescuing the climate and biodiversity go hand-in-hand; however, climate and biodiversity emergencies are issues that are often discussed separately.
We know that climate change is a key driver of biodiversity loss and that biodiversity loss worsens the impacts of climate change. The greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have already warmed by an average of +1.4 degrees Celcius. This means more extreme weather that has damaging impacts on nature. According to the latest IPCC report, shifts in rainfall patterns due to global warming are causing a quarter of the world’s natural landscapes to face longer fire seasons (something we know all too well here in Australia).
It gets worse.
A recent US Emissions Report has revealed that we are on a path to a +2.8 degrees Celcius world, which will mean increasingly severe and unpredictable consequences for both humans and ecosystems. We already know that our biodiversity hotspots are at risk, and 1 million species are at risk of extinction – the highest figure to date in human history.
When it comes to biodiversity loss, this aggravates our climate crisis, but protecting it does the opposite. Biodiversity is, in fact, a crucial part of carbon sequestration. It goes a little something like this:
Healthy soils + healthy ecosystems + diverse forests = greater carbon storage.
You know how I mentioned it gets worse? Well, for Australia, it’s even worse (sorry).
As a country, we might be great at our sport and take home a few Olympic gold medals; however, we also take the gold when it comes to mammal extinctions and biodiversity loss. It’s not a medal we should be proud of.
Australia is one of the 17 megadiverse countries, which means our species are unique and found nowhere else on this Earth. That is something special, and yet the five-year ‘State of the Environment’ report released in July laid bare that our natural environment is deteriorating due to increasing pressure from climate change, habitat destruction, invasive species, pollution, and resource extraction.
We need to take action now because biodiversity protection is crucial to the climate crisis, and this is where COP15 comes in.
COP15 could be the moment where immediate action is implemented.
It could be the starting point for saving our threatened species and natural places
It could make a real difference.
But what exactly is COP15?
In December, global leaders will gather in Montreal, Canada, for the 15th Conference of the Parties (or COP as we know it) to the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity to set new targets for protecting nature. Setting and meeting these targets will be crucial for protecting life on Earth (including yours) and ensuring a prosperous planet for generations to come.
The goal of COP15 is to set the framework for an ambitious plan to transform society’s relationship with biodiversity globally. This includes a series of firm targets for all global leaders to agree upon and work towards implementing that includes:
This framework outlines 22 action-orientated targets that countries worldwide need to do collectively and individually by 2030 and beyond. At Carbon Positive Australia, we have been working on our own action-orientated targets with biodiversity at the forefront of mind since our inception. You can read more about our successful biodiversity outcomes HERE , and in 2023 we will be taking on an ecologically significant site at Warralakin, WA. This project is located within a biodiversity hotspot. This site is home to several threatened flora and fauna species, including the Malleefowl. This project will aim to restore native vegetation to the area, creating habitat to support a range of woodland species, including Dunnarts, Western Yellow Robbins, Brushtail Possums, and Pink Cockatoos.
We know that we can enhance our climate change efforts by focusing on biodiversity at the same time, but we cannot do it alone. Our nature needs all of us to step up and solve the crisis.
While the Montreal conference will have officials agreeing on a new, 10-year Global Biodiversity Framework, let us use COP15 as a chance to step up for biodiversity this month.
You can make a difference by:
- Sharing this blog or news about COP15 on your social channels by using the hashtags #COP15 #NatureNow and #CarbonPositiveAustralia.
- Educate yourself on the Importance of Biodiversity.
- Talk to your friends, family, and colleagues about the importance of biodiversity.
- Take action by signing the petition for Action on Species Loss HERE.
- Take action locally by signing petitions to protect threatened species in your state. In WA, the extinction clock is ticking on our Black Cockatoos. You can help by signing a letter that will go to Premier Mark McGowan.
- Visit your MP. Your local Member of Parliament should know your concerns. Ask them what their plans are for biodiversity locally in your suburb.
- Volunteer your time with a local conservation group or wildlife volunteer group.
- Sign up to Plant Trees Australia so you can volunteer in your community to plant trees that will help reduce soil erosion, combat salinity, provide windbreaks and improve biodiversity.
- Sign up for the Carbon Positive Australia newsletter so you can keep up to date with our planting projects and be one of the first to read our research findings on biodiversity.
- Join us in our campaign to purchase land to save the iconic threatened Black Carnaby’s Cockatoo and share with it your networks.
In final words, I want to leave you with a quote from Lourdes Torres…
”The land does not belong to us, we belong to the land.”
A poignant reminder that we too are a part of the ecosystem alongside our Cockatoos, Koalas, Pygmy Possums, and Quolls. We are all threatened unless we take action together
All sessions at COP15 will be streamed live at cbd.int/live