CIEEM publishes joint COP statement and position on habitat restoration for tackling the climate emergency

CIEEM has published a statement ahead of the Biodiversity COP15 and Climate COP26 meetings that are due to take place later this year.

The statement focuses how the two events must be addressed together in order to achieve a transformative and radical change needed to tackle the twin crises of the climate emergency and loss of biodiversity in a socially just way.

The statement includes 9 recommendations for the meetings:

  1. The Biodiversity COP15 and Climate COP26 discussions and agreements must be integrated.
  2. There must be a focus on global cooperation.
  3. Nature-based Solutions must be central to addressing the climate emergency.
  4. Governments must regulate and implement legally-binding targets.
  5. Governments must support economic change.
  6. Relevant expertise and evidence must be at the centre of decision-making and delivery.
  7. Biodiversity professionals must be supported.
  8. The public must be engaged.
  9. Support must be provided to future generations.

The statement is published at the same time as we publish our Position Statement on Habitat Creation and Restoration for Tackling the Climate Emergency.

In recent years, there has been an increased recognition of the important role habitats and wider ecosystems play in addressing the climate emergency, with the term Nature-based Solutions (NbS), becoming increasingly integrated into climate discussions and leading as one of the major themes of UN Climate Change Conference COP26.

This position statement calls for expansion of advice relating to the use of habitats to absorb and store carbon, to recognize the latest research that promotes utilising the full suite of high-carbon habitats in areas that are suited to their edaphic and climatic requirements.

There are 9 recommendations for utilising habitats and soils to address the climate emergency:

  1. A wide range of habitat restoration and creation projects, supporting both short-term and long-term carbon sinks, are needed to address the climate and biodiversity crises.
  2. The long-term protection and enhancement of soils is essential to maintain carbon storage.
  3. Protecting and improving the ecological condition of existing habitats important in carbon storage must be a priority.
  4. The halting of damage to, and supporting restoration of peatlands is essential to halt the release of carbon from damaged, drained soils.
  5. When planting woodland, a full assessment of the carbon losses and gains over time must be made, alongside assessments of ecological impacts.
  6. The scale and carbon sequestration potential of marine habitats mean that they should be an essential part of the UK’s climate mitigation strategy.
  7. High diversity open habitats must also form part of the UK climate mitigation strategy in order to provide rapid carbon sequestration on a large scale
  8. Habitat creation and restoration must be planned and implemented by biodiversity professionals that hold the expertise and understanding of the relevant species, habitats and ecosystems.
  9. The Climate Change Committee must utilise their leadership role in addressing the climate emergency to encourage the promotion of employing the full suite of highcarbon habitats.