This Study argues for the need to integrate biodiversity into ambitious climate action. This requires paying close attention to how the 1.5°C goal is reached, as some 1.5°C emission reductions pathways can be compatible with biodiversity protection, while others—namely those relying on widespread carbon-dioxide removal (CDR) deployment, through the use of widespread BECCS or afforestation—are set to severely negatively impact biodiversity. This paper primarily focuses on the climate-biodiversity nexus on land, but its main conclusions could also apply to the ocean.

Key Messages

  • The Paris Agreement’s carbon neutrality goal requires a greater reliance on carbon sinks, therefore placing ecosystems at the center of ambitious climate action. Yet despite the useful development of NBS, silos between climate and biodiversity responses remain in science, international governance, and civil society. It is therefore necessary to increase coordination between climate action and biodiversity conservation.
  • Crossing recent IPCC and IPBES reports and scientific literature reveals synergies and tradeoffs between climate change and biodiversity loss responses. Climate ambition should therefore be redefined as limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C through emission reduction pathways that are biodiversity and food security compatible.
  • Maximising climate and biodiversity synergies and minimizing tradeoffs requires (1) rapid and deep energy system decarbonisation and AFOLU emissions reduction, (2) significant energy demand reduction, and food system transformation (e.g. food waste reduction, diet shift), (3) optimisation of carbon sequestration in current land use, while conserving biodiversity, and (4) refrain from widespread deployment of land-based mitigation/ CDR measures such as BECCS, which require massive land use change and have highly detrimental biodiversity impacts.
  • To support the integration of ambitious climate change and biodiversity action in national policies, increased coordinated action is needed internationally in science (scientific communities, IPCC and IPBES), international governance (between UNFCCC, CBD and UNCCD), and civil society.
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