Time to integrate global climate change and biodiversity science-policy agendas
| Journal of Applied Ecology | 2021 | Peer Reviewed
| Original research
- There is an increasing recognition that, although the climate change and biodiversity crises are fundamentally connected, they have been primarily addressed independently and a more integrated global approach is essential to tackle these two global challenges.
Nature-based Solutions (NbS) are hailed as a pathway for promoting synergies between the climate change and biodiversity agendas. There are, however, uncertainties and difficulties associated with the implementation of NbS, while the evidence regarding their benefits for biodiversity remains limited.
- We identify five key research areas where incomplete or poor information hinders the development of integrated biodiversity and climate solutions. These relate to refining our understanding of how climate change mitigation and adaptation approaches benefit biodiversity conservation; enhancing our ability to track and predict ecosystems on the move and/or facing collapse; improving our capacity to predict the impacts of climate change on the effectiveness of NbS; developing solutions that match the temporal, spatial and functional scale of the challenges; and developing a comprehensive and practical framework for assessing, and mitigating against, the risks posed by the implementation of NbS.
- Policy implications. The Conference of the Parties (COP) for the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) present a clear policy window for developing coherent policy frameworks that align targets across the nexus of biodiversity and climate change. This window should (a) address the substantial and chronic underfunding of global biodiversity conservation, (b) remove financial incentives that negatively impact biodiversity and/or climate change, (c) develop higher levels of integration between the biodiversity and climate change agendas, (d) agree on a monitoring framework that enables the standardised quantification and comparison of biodiversity gains associated with NbS across ecosystems and over time and (e) rethink environmental legislation to better support biodiversity conservation in times of rapid climatic change.