Leading scientists warn that expanding national parks and protected areas will not be enough to stop the destruction of nature, and that immediate action on overconsumption, detrimental subsidies, and the climate crisis will be required to reverse biodiversity loss.
At Cop15 in Kunming, China, later this year, governments are anticipated to commit to a Paris-style deal for nature, with aims including protecting at least 30% of seas and land by 2030.
More than 50 eminent scientists analyzed the proposed United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) agreement and determined that while extending protected areas can help halt the loss of the natural world, much more is needed to stop it.
“The objective of safeguarding 30% of all land and waters is essential and attracts a lot of attention,” said Professor Paul Leadley, an ecologist at Paris-Saclay University and co-author of the research. And, while extending protected areas is a good start, it falls well short of what is required to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, a process known as ‘bending the curve.’
“There is strong evidence that if we place too much emphasis on protected areas at the expense of other essential steps to address biodiversity challenges, we will fail to reach ambitious international biodiversity targets once more.”
According to the scientists, “massive” reductions in harmful agricultural and fisheries subsidies are required as part of coordinated action on a diverse and interconnected set of “transformational” changes, including keeping global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius and addressing excessive human consumption, including meat consumption.
Proposals to eradicate plastic pollution, reduce pesticide use by two-thirds, and half the rate of invasive species introduction are among the 21 draft targets to be negotiated in Kunming. The pact aims to avert what some scientists have dubbed the “sixth mass extinction of life on Earth,” which is being fueled by human behavior and endangering ecosystems critical to human civilisation.
The proposed agreement has been subjected to scientific scrutiny by BioDiscovery and the Group on Earth Observations Biodiversity Observation Network (Geo Bon), with governments expected to respond later this month.
The consequences of three scenarios for slowing and reversing biodiversity loss were examined: business as usual, increased conservation quality and quantity, and transformative societal change. Only the last scenario, presuming global warming is confined to 1.5 degrees Celsius, will have the desired effect, according to the study.
“We’re attempting to explain why the global biodiversity framework looks the way it does using the best research available.” Many countries argue that it is excessively complicated. “We’re attempting to explain why all of the pieces are required and how each piece goes together,” Leadley explained.
The analysis comes in the wake of confusion over the draft agreement’s breadth and complexity, which covers everything from pollution to indigenous community inclusion.
Following many delays in the process, the governments are slated to resume face-to-face negotiations in March for the first time since February 2020. Over the last decade, governments have failed to reach a single target for halting environmental degradation.
“The sooner we intervene, the better,” said Mara Cecilia Londoo Murcia, a researcher at Colombia’s Humboldt Institute and co-author of the study. Because the interval between action and positive biodiversity consequences can be decades, we must start quickly and maintain our efforts if we are to meet the global targets by 2050.”
Article Author Gerluxe Image: britannica