Climate change and nature loss are two of the most significant challenges facing the planet and society today. Climate action has seen a surge of support in recent years, with policymakers and business leaders worldwide scrambling to set emissions reductions targets, in line with the goal of “Net Zero” emissions by mid-century to limit planetary warming to 1.5 degrees. However, despite widespread acceptance of its severity, nature loss has remained in climate change’s shadow as a subject of political and commercial concern until recently.
Human environmental damage and biodiversity loss were respectively ranked as the third and fifth risks by likelihood, and sixth and fourth by impact by the World Economic Forum in 2021. Additionally, last year’s Dasgupta Review pointed to a financial and social system that fundamentally undervalues nature and places unsustainable demands on ecosystem services, even whilst 50% of economic value generation is dependent on nature. This year’s “Biodiversity COP” 15 will seek to implement a Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework , with many stakeholders calling for aims to halting net nature loss in the 2020s, become “Nature Positive” by 2030 and live in harmony with nature by 2050.
Rather than being two separate challenges we firmly believe that climate change and nature loss must start to be treated as interconnected and interdependent issues, an approach reflected in the links between our Environmental Stewardship and Climate Change engagement programmes. Climate change is a key driver of nature loss, undermining and potentially reversing nature’s ability to sequester greenhouse gases in our atmosphere and diminishing the role nature can play in protecting us from the physical consequences of climate change. The twin pathways below highlight the links; nature must be enlisted as an ally in the fight against climate change, and climate mitigation must not come at the expense of nature.