Strengthening synergies: how action to achieve post-2020 global biodiversity conservation targets can contribute to mitigating climate change

De Lamo, X. et al. | UNEP-WCMC | 2020 | Original research |


The climate and biodiversity crises are fundamentally connected and more integrated approaches are needed to address them effectively. To directly tackle the interconnected factors behind them, actions which
capitalize on the contributions of nature, commonly known as Naturebased Solutions (NbS), can play a more central role. The one-year delay in the 2020 Conferences of Parties to the UNFCCC and the CBD caused by the COVID-19 crisis provides a unique opportunity to bring new scientific advances to inform and strengthen the links between both international agendas and their national implementation. To facilitate the alignment and better understand the potential synergies between these agendas, there is a need to assess the role that achieving biodiversity conservation targets can play in efforts to mitigate climate change. This report presents the first results of ongoing research aiming to inform progress by making explicit and quantifying the role that achieving biodiversity conservation targets can play in securing the emissions reductions needed to meet the objectives of the Paris Agreement. This report, the first output of this effort, looks at the carbon stocks associated with areas identified as possible priorities to meet proposed global biodiversity conservation targets.

The analysis presented here identifies the regions where global action will deliver the most to achieve post-2020 biodiversity conservation goals and mitigate climate change. It shows that the strategic choice of areas to be managed for conservation, increasing such areas to 30% of land globally,
could safeguard more than 500 gigatons of carbon. When prioritizing
areas for conservation management, taking account of biodiversity and
carbon together can secure 95% of the biodiversity benefits and nearly
80% of the carbon stock that could be obtained by prioritizing based on
either value alone. [Continued]

Habitat type

  • Deserts and xeric shrublands
  • Boreal forests and taiga
  • Temperate coniferous forests
  • Temperate broadleaf and mixed forests
  • Tropical and subtropical coniferous forests
  • Tropical-subtropical-dry and monsoon broadleaf forests
  • Tropical and subtropical moist broadleaf forests
  • Flooded grasslands and savannas
  • Mediterranean shrublands and woodlands
  • Tropical montane grasslands and savannas
  • Temperate grasslands-savannas and shrublands
  • Tropical and subtropical grassland-savannas and shrublands
  • (arctic) tundra
  • Wetlands
  • Xeric basins

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