- 05.11.2021

Why we have to tackle the climate crisis and biodiversity loss simultaneously

Posted as a part of Greens/EFA daily updates from COP26 series

Everyone is talking about COP26 these days, and that’s a good thing. The Conference of the Parties of the UN climate convention is a major event in making sure that the whole world follows the 1,5 degree path set in the Paris Agreement. But climate change is not alone at the top of the list for the world’s most pressing problems. And COP26 is not the only COP that we should be aware of.

COP15 is going to be the 15th meeting of the parties of the UN Biodiversity Convention. Due to the COVID crisis, the meeting was first postponed and then split into two separate parts: the first was held remotely this October only shortly before the Glasgow meeting and the second part will be held in Kunming in China in April-May 2022.

This makes the biodiversity crisis and the climate emergency appear as two separate issues, but they are interconnected on very many levels. Until now they have been largely addressed as their own separate areas in both science and policy making.

What I am looking forward to seeing from the COP26 is a stronger understanding and action for measures that tackle both these crises at the same time. Luckily we know there are a lot of solutions that work for both. According to the IPCC and IPBES joint workshop report, some examples of good measures to take are to stop the loss and to restore carbon- and species-rich ecosystems, especially forests, wetlands, peatlands and grasslands. Also increasing sustainable agricultural and forestry practices and cutting off environmentally harmful subsidies helps both climate and nature.

At COP26, more than 100 world leaders reached a deal to end and reverse deforestation by 2030. This is an important step. However, as the previous commitments were not reached, there’s still reason to be alert whether these promises will be delivered. And that applies to the European Union as well: The Commission’s draft proposal to stop EU-driven deforestation has major loopholes. If we want to be a true global leader, we need to make sure our own actions are in line.