“The Paris Agreement” for the imperative of nature at COP15, according to the architects of the climate agreement

The architects of the Paris Agreement urged world leaders to strike an ambitious sister deal for nature at the Cop15 biodiversity conference in December, while warning that it is impossible to limit global warming to 1.5 ° C without protecting and restoring ecosystems.

Speaking on biodiversity day at the Cop27 climate conference in Egypt, Christiana Figueres, Laurence Tubiana, Laurent Fabius and Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, who helped design the Paris agreement, said Cop15 would be an “unprecedented” opportunity to reverse the trend of nature loss.

This follows scientific warnings that humans are behind the sixth mass extinction of life on Earth, with 1 million species at risk of extinction.

The biodiversity summit takes place in Montreal, Canada, just two weeks after COP27 in Egypt, where governments will negotiate this decade’s targets for preventing biodiversity loss. Despite the ominous scientific warnings about the health of the planet and the consequences for human civilization, no world leaders are expected to attend the meeting, which clashes with the FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

In a separate announcement, a group of nearly 350 scientists, indigenous peoples, businesses and NGOs urged presidents and prime ministers to prioritize the nature summit.

“Leaders must ensure a global deal for biodiversity that is as ambitious, science-based and comprehensive as the Paris agreement is for climate change. Like the Paris agreement, it must encourage countries to commit and also to intensify their action commensurate with the scale of the challenge”, indicates the joint declaration of the designers of the Paris climate agreement.

“There is no way to limit global warming to 1.5°C without taking action to protect and restore nature. Only by taking urgent action to halt and reverse the loss of nature this decade, while continuing to step up efforts to rapidly decarbonize our economies, can we hope to deliver on the promise of the agreement. of Paris,” we read.

“It must be inclusive, rights-based and work for everyone. And it must provide, across the whole of society, immediate action on the ground – our future depends on it,” he continues.

Figueres, Tubiana, Fabius and Pulgar-Vidal stated that “humanity’s accelerated destruction of nature undermines its ability to provide crucial services, including climate change mitigation and adaptation. As with climate change, it is the most vulnerable communities that suffer the greatest impacts from loss of biodiversity, from loss of food security and livelihoods to reduced climate resilience. The climate and nature agendas are closely linked.

On Tuesday, ministers from around 30 countries gathered in Sharm el-Sheikh at a side event co-hosted by Canada and China to discuss the draft nature accord, officially known as the post-2020 biodiversity framework. Sticking points in the negotiations were discussed by governments, including financial support for the deal.

At COP15, China oversees a major UN agreement for the first time and holds the presidency, although its leaders have played a modest role so far, raising fears that the biodiversity summit could be nature’s ‘Copenhagen moment’, a reference to the conference where climate talks collapsed in 2009. COP15 was moved from China to Canada after several pandemic-related delays and no world leader was invited by Beijing, fearing they would try to downplay the event so as not to embarrass Xi Jinping, who is not expected. to participate.

Helena Gualinga, a young indigenous Kichwa climate leader from Sarayaku, Ecuador, said COP15 was a “once-in-a-decade opportunity to agree a global deal for nature” and leaders needed to attend and produce a ambitious final agreement.

“Nature and the future of the climate are at stake, and we will not be safe until leaders are held accountable. For generations, my community has coexisted with nature, while witnessing the extraction and the deforestation of our territories which devastates wildlife, nature and people. Our existence is our resistance, when we defend our indigenous rights, we protect key ecosystems for the planet. We only have this decade to change the things, and yet governments are failing in their responsibilities. COP15 in Montreal is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to agree a global deal for nature, and we need leaders to step up and deliver,” he said. she declared.

Johan Rockström, director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, one of those in civil society urging world leaders to take COP15 seriously, said nature was crucial to keeping global warming below 1.5 °C from pre-industrial levels.

“To have a 50% chance of reaching 1.5°C and thereby limit tipping point risks, global greenhouse gas emissions must be halved by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050,” he said. “Critically, these pathways rely on nature’s continued ability to function as a carbon sink and buffer against the worst impacts of climate change – 1.5°C is not a goal, it’s a goal. biophysical limit. Nature is one of the best climatic solutions to stay within this limit. An ambitious global biodiversity framework at COP15 that addresses the root causes of the decline of the global commons is urgently needed.

Find more Age of Extinction coverage here and follow the Guardian’s biodiversity reporters Phoebe Weston and patrick greenfield on Twitter for all the latest news and features

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