New paper proposes a science-based ‘Global Deal for Nature’

first_imgArticle published by Mike Gaworecki A paper published in Science today outlines a new “Global Deal for Nature,” officially launching an effort to establish science-based conservation targets covering all of planet Earth, including terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.The Global Deal for Nature proposes a target of 30 percent of the planet to be fully protected under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity by 2030. But because much more of Earth’s natural ecosystems need to be preserved or restored in order to avert the worst impacts of runaway global warming, another 20 percent of the planet would be protected under the GDN as Climate Stabilization Areas (CSAs).Conservation scientists, environmental NGOs, and indigenous groups are urging governments to adopt the GDN as a companion commitment alongside the Paris Climate Agreement approved by nearly 200 countries in 2015. A paper published in Science today outlines a new “Global Deal for Nature,” officially launching an effort to establish science-based conservation targets covering all of planet Earth, including terrestrial, freshwater, and marine ecosystems.The Global Deal for Nature proposes a target of 30 percent of the planet to be fully protected under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity by 2030. But because much more of Earth’s natural ecosystems need to be preserved or restored in order to avert the worst impacts of runaway global warming, another 20 percent of the planet would be protected under the GDN as Climate Stabilization Areas (CSAs).“Working in cohort with the Paris Agreement, CSAs would concentrate in habitats like mangroves, tundra, other peatlands, ancient grasslands, and boreal and tropical rainforest biomes that store vast reserves of carbon and other greenhouse gases, and prevent large-scale land cover change,” the authors of the paper write. CSAs would meet the definition of “Other Effective Area-based Conservation Measures” (OECMs) adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity late last year.Conservation scientists, environmental NGOs, and indigenous groups are urging governments to adopt the GDN as a companion commitment alongside the Paris Climate Agreement approved by nearly 200 countries in 2015.“The Global Deal for Nature (GDN) is a time-bound, science-driven plan to save the diversity and abundance of life on Earth,” according to the paper. “Pairing the GDN and the Paris Climate Agreement would avoid catastrophic climate change, conserve species, and secure essential ecosystem services. New findings give urgency to this union: Less than half of the terrestrial realm is intact, yet conserving all native ecosystems — coupled with energy transition measures — will be required to remain below a 1.5°C rise in average global temperature.”Indigenous lands are considered central to the premise of the GDN, the authors add in the paper: “Potentially prominent among OECMs are indigenous peoples’ lands, which account for 37% of all remaining natural lands across the Earth, and these lands store >293 gigatons of carbon. Although many of these lands meet the definition of a protected area, many others may be appropriately characterized as OECMs. Here, the global policies articulated in the Paris Agreement and the proposed GDN merge with addressing human rights. The direction, insights, rights, and voices of indigenous peoples are essential but rarely published in scientific journals.”‘One Earth’ climate model (LDF 1.5°C Scenario) from Achieving the Paris Climate Agreement (Teske, ed.) 2019. Land use emissions (gold) decline from current levels to zero in 2035, becoming carbon-negative in 2027. Approximately 400 GtCO2 in negative emissions through land restoration would be required to achieve a >67% chance of staying below 1.5˚C with a >50% chance of 1.4 degrees C by 2100. Carbon budgets are derived from the IPCC special report, “Global Warming of 1.5˚C” (2018), starting in 2018 and adjusted downward to account for total anthropogenic emissions from the pre-industrial era (circa 1750). Model compiled by Malte Meinshausen (MAGICC7.0/CMIP6-compliant).The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a special report last year highlighting the impacts of global warming that are already being felt around the globe and warning that those impacts would only get even more severe if global average temperature rise is not limited to 1.5 degree Celsius above pre-industrial levels.“The science is telling us that if we go above 1.5˚C, we could experience an ‘extinction tsunami’ resulting in the collapse of many key ecosystems,” Thomas Lovejoy, the conservation biologist known as “The Godfather of Biodiversity” and a co-author of the GDN paper, said. “We cannot solve the biodiversity crisis without solving the climate crisis, and we cannot solve the climate crisis without solving the biodiversity crisis. The two are interlinked.”Eric Dinerstein, director of the biodiversity and wildlife program at the Washington, D.C.-based NGO RESOLVE, led the teams that wrote the new GDN paper and the 2017 study examining an “ecoregion-based approach” to protecting half the planet that it builds on. “Pairing a new ‘Global Deal for Nature’ with the Paris Climate Agreement would give us the best chance of avoiding catastrophic climate change, of conserving threatened species, and of ensuring the health of the ecosystems that are so essential for sustaining life on Earth,” Dinerstein said.The GDN campaign is being driven by One Earth, an initiative of the Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation that aims to marshal support from international institutions, governments, and citizens of planet Earth to support ambitious conservation goals. One Earth has launched an online petition drive at globaldealfornature.org along with RESOLVE and indigenous groups to build popular support for the GDN.“Science is telling us something our traditional knowledge has been warning of for decades: the Earth is dying,” Gregorio Mirabal, president of the indigenous group COICA (Coordinator of Indigenous Organizations of the Amazon River Basin), said. “We urgently need a Global Deal for Nature to restore half of the natural world as soon as possible and, as guardians of 80% of the planet’s biodiversity, indigenous peoples must play a central role in that pact. Indigenous communities truly understand what it means to live in harmony with nature — now governments need to recognize that our ancestral knowledge will be key to ensuring that we all have a future on this Earth.”Preserving tropical forests, like this rainforest in Madagascar, is a key part of meeting climate and biodiversity goals. Photo by Rhett A. Butler.CITATIONS• Dinerstein, E., Olson, D., Joshi, A., Vynne, C., Burgess, N. D., Wikramanayake, E., … & Hansen, M. (2017). An ecoregion-based approach to protecting half the terrestrial realm. BioScience, 67(6), 534-545. doi:10.1093/biosci/bix014• Dinerstein, E. et al. (2019). A Global Deal For Nature: Guiding principles, milestones, and targets. Science, 5(4), eaaw2869. doi:10.1126/sciadv.aaw2869Featured Image: A hummingbird in La Selva Biological Station, Costa Rica. Photo by Rhett Butler.FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page. 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