Climate change and biodiversity loss have long been interconnected challenges, and the need to address them together has recently gained prominence in the scientific and political mainstream. It is however necessary to find ways to better align high climate and biodiversity ambitions and actions. This Study addresses the why, what, and how of doing so.

Note: This IDDRI Study is a follow-up to the 2019 Study "Towards a climate change ambition that (better) integrates biodiversity and land use", which assesses in greater depth the positive and negative biodiversity impacts of different climate mitigation strategies and emission reduction pathways, by crossing recent IPCC and IPBES reports and other scientific publications.

Key Messages

  • ‘Net-zero and biodiversity positive’ ambition means (1) ambitious action to 2030 and (2) coordinated planning to 2050 towards: i) rapid and deep economy-wide emission cuts, and ii) conserving carbon and biodiversity-rich ecosystems, iii) sustainable land use including nature-based solutions (NBS) in particular in the agri-food system, iv) greater emphasis on demand-side management measures, v) using CDR primarily to compensate for hard-to-abate marginal emissions, not as an ‘easy’ way out of ambitious mitigation.
  • The 2021 climate and biodiversity ‘super-year’ (e.g. CBD COP15, UNFCCC COP26 and the UN Food Systems Summit) offers several opportunities to push for a qualitative redefinition of ambition towards greater coherence in domestic action for climate & biodiversity, and to ensure a step change in collective accountability:
    - (Re)defining global goals towards a more aligned approach, as part of the COP26 and COP15 political declarations;
    - Tasking scientific subsidiary bodies (SBST(T)A) with identifying most effective actions for both climate and biodiversity;  
    - Tasking the implementation subsidiary bodies (SBI) to suggest how to integrate overlapping climate and biodiversity considerations into relevant domestic plans (NDCs, NBSAPs) and their transparency requirements (synchronizing reporting timelines, specifying data needs);
    - Tasking the research community to build upon IPCC and IPBES preliminary joint work, to assess and design transformation pathways that are both net-zero and biodiversity positive.
  • National scale convergence and coherence implies not only ensuring consistent development of NDCs and LT-LEDS for climate and NBSAPs for biodiversity, but also that sectoral plans (for instance the national strategic plans for the implementation of the EU Common Agricultural Policy) are legally made compatible with both climate and biodiversity planning documents.
  • Real economy actors and local authorities both play a critical role in bringing about these necessary transformations, as do critical conditions in governance (democratic processes, participation and inclusion, rights based approaches).
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