Biodiversity and climate : two sides of the same coin

The climate and biodiversity crises are interdependent and these two central elements of life on Earth must be protected with equal ambition.

While at the international level this statement is always more recognised, the different approaches, concepts and solutions for solving these twin crises raise questions. This note aims to highlight good practices while warning of those that are harmful, in order to foster a transformative change in our model of society that is beneficial for biodiversity, as well as for the climate.

Beyond practices which will be detailed through the note, here are our 8 principles for aligned biodiversity and climate agendas, with respect to ecosystems and humans:

  1. Recognise that the climate and biodiversity crises are interlinked, as are the practices and solutions to mitigate their effects. Both crises have to be addressed with the same level of ambition.
  2. Prioritise effective reductions in greenhouse gas emissions (GHGe), as it is the most effective way to meet the targets of the Paris Agreement, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD). The practice of providing land- and forest-based carbon offsets to industries (aviation, fossil fuel industry, agribusiness) should be excluded.
  3. Ensure that any policy prioritises nature and climate while respecting human rights, and in particular the rights of indigenous peoples.
    1. People affected by climate and biodiversity protection measures must be fully involved in decision-making and implementation
    2. Their knowledge, existing practices and contributions to climate and biodiversity protection must be taken into account, respected and promoted
    3. Gender inequalities must always be taken into consideration in this context: the full implementation of the Gender Action Plans (GAP) adopted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the CBD is imperative for this purpose
  4. Stop deforestation, forest degradation and conversion of natural ecosystems – taking into account territorial specificity.
    1. Reforestation projects can be implemented according to specific criteria (avoiding competition with food security objectives, excluding monospecific plantations, or in the case of projects providing carbon credits, not substituting these credits for reductions in GHGe)
    2. In addition, it is essential that governments stop imported deforestation
  5. Acknowledge that the use of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS), or technologies inspired by nature (e.g. GMOs, synthetic biology, agrofuels) are not sustainable solutions
  6. Ban ‘climate-smart’ agriculture techniques offering carbon storage and offsetting credits. They lead to land grabbing or financialisation of natural resources, are inadequate in preserving biodiversity, and distract from the primary need to reduce GHGe from the agricultural sector.
  7. Commit to the energy transition ensuring absolute respect for the climate and biodiversity. Unsustainable sectors must be eradicated (fossil fuels, nuclear). In the renewable energy sector, the application of impact assessments (specified in existing regulations) and monitoring processes need to be improved.
  8. Promote regular dialogue between all international institutions, encourage alignment of the CBD and the Paris Agreement implementation (and monitoring) processes through a common mechanism and through clear and agreed definitions of concepts and practices, with safeguards

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