Using new data and novel analytical approaches, research released by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners underscores the size of the prize on offer from integrating action to save nature and combat climate change.
The report, Strengthening synergies: How action to achieve post-2020 global biodiversity conservation targets can contribute to mitigating climate change, finds that conserving 30% of land in strategic locations could safeguard 500 gigatonnes of carbon stored in vegetation and soils – around half the world’s vulnerable terrestrial carbon stocks – and reduce the extinction risk of nearly 9 out of 10 threatened terrestrial species.
The report shows that coordinating priority areas to conserve both biodiversity and carbon stocks is key to meeting ambitious goals for both nature and climate. It highlights areas where global conservation action can deliver the most to achieve biodiversity goals and mitigate climate change.
Co-authored by the UN Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) and a number of supporting partners, the research shows that when prioritising areas for conservation, accounting for biodiversity and carbon together can secure 95% of the biodiversity benefits and nearly 80% of the carbon stocks that could be obtained by prioritising either value alone.
The authors highlight the fundamental interconnectedness of the climate change and biodiversity loss crises (something that CIEEM has been saying for some time now), and make the point that more integrated approaches are needed to address them. Actions that capitalise on the contributions of nature, known as nature-based solutions, and are based on inclusive decision-making that recognises the land rights of indigenous peoples and local communities, are especially crucial to acting effectively to address climate change and biodiversity loss.
Readers may also be interested in CIEEM’s own Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Crisis: Declaration and Call to Action, Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Crisis: The Facts and Figures and Using Nature-based Solutions to Tackle the Climate Emergency and Biodiversity Crisis briefing papers.