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COP27: Protecting biodiversity is protecting the Paris Agreement

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(UN News) – For many years the climate crisis and the biodiversity crisis have been treated as separate issues, but the reality – as highlighted on Wednesday at COP27– is that there is no viable route to limiting global warming to 1.5°C without urgently protecting and restoring nature.

“The two need to be looked at as being on the same wavelength, and not one higher than the other,” Elizabeth Mrema, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the international legal instrument to protect biodiversity ratified by 196 nations, told UN News.

Biodiversity Day’ at COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh comes just two weeks ahead of a high-level gathering of CBD States Parties in Montreal, aimed at reversing biodiversity loss.

Four of the key architects of the Paris Agreement, including former UN climate change chief Christiana Figueres, have officially asked world leaders to deliver an ‘ambitious and transformative’ global biodiversity agreement in the upcoming COP15 on biodiversity.

“The climate and nature agendas are entwined…Only by taking urgent action to halt and reverse the loss of nature this decade, while continuing to step up efforts to rapidly decarbonize our economies, can we hope to achieve the promise of the Paris Agreement,” they said in a statement.

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Unsplash/Alan Godfrey – Parrots

The connection, explained

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) explains that the loss of biodiversity is already significantly affecting regional and global changes in climate.

While natural ecosystems play an important role in regulating climate and can help to sequester and store carbon, the loss of forests, the draining of wetlands and other environmental degradation has contributed significantly to climate change.

According to the agency, efforts to reduce deforestation and forest degradation and restore ecosystems, for example, could contribute to lowering annual greenhouse gas emissions.

“If we invest in nature and natures infrastructure, forests, coral reefs, mangroves, coastal forests, well, it protects us from high storms. It provides habitat for species, but it also stores carbon. So, it has both a mitigation and an adaptation dimension,” Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director, told UN News.

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