December 3, 2021

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Post: China takes the lead in biodiversity

Post: China takes the lead in biodiversity

Last week, 196 countries gathered to discuss measures against the natural crisis and rally around a “post-2020 global framework for biodiversity”. Wild mammals now make up less than four percent of all land mammals (humans and domestic animals make up 96 percent). Moreover, nearly half of the world’s species are threatened with extinction and the world is far from achieving international goals for better nature management. The solutions on the table relate to protecting the areas of the Earth where wild animals live, a more realistic assessment of natural resources and fair compensation for countries managing significant natural resources.

Görld Heglund

Görld Heglund

The UN Climate and Nature Committees agree that the climate and nature crises are equally serious. They reinforce each other, and must be resolved in context. In 2019, the United Nations Climate Panel released a separate report showing that land encroachment is a significant cause of climate emissions. This is why nature-based solutions are receiving increasing attention for both nature and climate.

Kristen Rosendal

Kristen Rosendal

Technological advances can lead us to believe that we can live separate from nature. But healthy, cohesive and adequate habitats are still a basic requirement of nature to provide the diversity of ecosystem services that humans, animals and plants depend on to survive.

Ecosystem services or natural goods are goods, services, or products that nature “gives” to humans. Ecosystem services range from genetic resources to food and drug development, insect pollination and nature experiments, to microclimate and water regulation. A viable mangrove forest, for example, is an affordable and effective insurance against wild climates and storms.

The World Biological Diversity Conference reports zero visibility of further habitat loss. “Zone neutrality” under the “carbon neutral” model of the Climate Agreement is a key concept when the parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity meet. For the first time, China will host a global environmental conference. China’s host role gives China a good opportunity to exercise global leadership in a region that desperately needs societal solutions. At the same time, it highlights local policies, which can be a problem for the host.

China’s rapid economic growth has created significant environmental challenges, which has also led to an increased focus on environmental protection. Ultimately, political goals for biodiversity crystallize with success stories: the panda is no longer threatened with extinction, China is a world leader in locally adapted afforestation and support for a proposal to protect 30 percent of the land can be expected. The European Union and China announced in early October that the global CBD, like the Paris Agreement, should have clear targets and monitoring mechanisms.

Thus, China’s experience in protecting biodiversity can increase the credibility of its leadership shirt at the international level. But in the realm of foreign policy, the picture has long been different. China’s Silk Road (Belt and Road Initiative, BRI) has been heavily criticized for the lack of environmental considerations in the countries where investments are made. The fact that China recently promised to halt Belt and Road Initiative investments in foreign coal-fired power plants is positive, and suggests that the criticism is valid.

Natural resources are still undervalued in Kroner and Ore. At the same time, there is no doubt that the great powers are still interested in acquiring natural resources, whether in the form of land or genetic resources. Access to natural resources, for example, is a prerequisite for the development of renewable energy, in the form of the growing need for land for mining and the development of wind, solar and hydropower. Access to genetic resources is at the core of developing new drugs and further developing high-yielding nutritional plants. The idea that we must sacrifice nature to respond to the climate crisis is widespread; This is despite the fact that climate affects, but does not produce, the ecosystem services that we depend on to live.

This situation is closely related to the sustainability goals of the United Nations. It is still the case that large contiguous natural areas with a high degree of biodiversity are located in the impoverished part of the world, the “Global South”. Good management of nature and adequate and cohesive habitats is an important buffer against climate challenges as well as against new epidemics transmitted from animals to humans.

The climate crisis is fraught with challenges, but it still has some advantages over the natural crisis: climate solutions have the advantage that they can easily attract energy investment from the private sector, where the driving force is economic returns. It’s hard to quantify the gains of a short-term investment by taking care of nature – but in the long-run the gain is probably significant at least. In order to be able to contribute to solutions, Norway can benefit from looking beyond national borders. From this perspective, China plays an important role and this week’s nature negotiations constitute a very important forum. At the Nature Conference, China pledged $230 million to a global fund to support biodiversity conservation in poor countries and calls for cooperation.

Even with a binding agreement on the protection of nature and diversity, greater challenges lie ahead when translating goals into practical policy. Here, Norway can make a positive contribution to global cooperation for the successful implementation of the goals.(Terms)Copyright Dagens Næringsliv AS and/or our suppliers. We would like you to share our cases using a link that leads directly to our pages. All or part of the Content may not be copied or otherwise used with written permission or as permitted by law. For additional terms look here.

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