A big year for both Climate Change and Biodiversity action.

It’s official, 2020 is going to be a big year for climate change! Throughout the final months of 2019 we read about a whole host of reports, articles and stories that made it clear that time is running out for the global community to act on the damaging effects of the rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. These damaging effects, the reports make clear, are not just damaging to nature, wildlife and the environment, but specifically threaten the economic, social and financial structures on which the human race depends – our societal life support system, if you like.

the identification of the decade between now and 2030 as the critical period in which significant action is needed seems to have focussed the minds of the great and good.

A decade to avoid climate and biodiversity catastrophe!

And as we all know there is nothing like a deadline to sharpen the mind and stimulate action, so the identification of the decade between now and 2030 as the critical period in which significant action is needed seems to have focussed the minds of the great and good.

Britain has officially left the European Union, with the end of the year marking the date for when the details of the future relationship will be clear to all, but before that happens the United Kingdom will host the 26thmeeting of the Conference to the Parties on Climate Change (COP26)

This is a crucial instalment of these annual conferences because it marks the 5 year anniversary of the historic Paris Agreement, which commits signatories to the agreement (basically every nation on earth except The United States of America, Syria and Nicaragua) to review their climate action pledges in order to ensure that we limit global warming to less that 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels. It represents a gilded opportunity for the UK to demonstrate leadership in modelling how ambitious climate action can lead to economic, social and environmental benefits for all nations and peoples, and to rebut the unscientific, poorly supported but intuitive narrative of conventional economists that insists that making the changes necessary to combat climate change will inevitably lead to poorer economies and a lower quality of life.

Fortunately, the smart money is on the former prognosis, as evidenced by the statements and reasoning of many experts, thinkers and entrepreneurs made in the first month of 2020. Leaders, economists and politicians attending the World Economic Forum event in Davos were largely aligned in their view that action on climate change is not only desirable but imperative in order to prevent future economic decline, and the President of the organisation used the occasion of its 50th Anniversary to make climate change the central theme of the meeting.

Adding weight to this urgent call to action, Blackrock, the world’s largest asset management firm, has announced that it will be putting climate change at the heart of its investment strategy, and meanwhile the governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, also made it clear that climate change is not just a problem for nature and the environment, but that it threatens the financial sector in general.

Biodiversity’s time has come too?

2020 is also destined to be a seminal year for biodiversity, and the protection of the natural world. The Convention on Biological Diversity will hold its 15th Meeting in Kunming, China, where stakeholders will agree the post-2020 global biodiversity framework, intended to guide action on protecting and nurturing the ecological biodiversity on earth that is our true life-support system. 

Recognising this, people from all over the world are calling for action in 2020, the ‘Super Year’ for the biodiversity and climate change emergencies. And there is a premium on providing innovative and practical solutions to both.

So in this Super Year for climate and biodiversity action, let’s turn our focus to protecting natural forests

Practical solutions and action

Investing in projects and activities that protect nature and natural habitats, referred to as Nature-based Solutions, means addressing both the climate and the biodiversity challenges. Natural forest conservation, which is the focus of our work at Carbon Tanzania, is a powerful example of nature-based Solutions. And if you know where to look, there are now regular scientific reports and related articles being published that stress the central role of forest protection in reducing climate changing greenhouse gas emissions

So in this Super Year for climate and biodiversity action, let’s turn our focus to protecting natural forests, forests that store carbon in the long term, protect important and rare wildlife and plants, and can also provide the basis of a rural economy where communities own and manage these very forests.

Jo Anderson – Carbon Tanzania Director