COP27: We need a ‘Paris moment for biodiversity’

The UN is calling for COP27 to pave the way for the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15) this upcoming December. But don’t be confused – there are actually two different kinds of COPs – both equally important for reaching net zero and protecting the environment from climate change.

What is the UN Biodiversity Conference?

The currently ongoing COP27 (6-18 Nov) is a climate COP, focused on limiting global temperatures to below 2 degrees Celsius, as declared by the Paris agreement in 2015. The upcoming biodiversity conference will take place in Canada in December and focuses on 3 main aims: conservation of biodiversity, sustainable use of biodiversity, equitable and equal distribution of the advantages resulting from the exploitation of genetic resources.

“Scientists have told us in no uncertain terms … that climate change and biodiversity loss are intrinsically connected and that’s why we are looking at the [COP15] framework as, basically, a Paris moment for biodiversity,” said Elizabeth Maruma Mrema, executive secretary of the convention on biological diversity (CBD).

Hopes for the Canadian COP15 summit include a UN commitment to halting the destruction of the natural world, although top officials caution that this will depend on strong climate commitments. Deputy secretary of the CBD, David Cooper, said that one of the main causes of biodiversity loss is the climate problem.

“The outcomes from COP27 will be instrumental, and will influence a lot the discussions and specific targets under the framework,” Mrema said.

Intertwining biodiversity and the built environment

The built environment is one of the major contributors to CO2 emissions and climate change, accounting for 38% of all energy-related CO2 emissions, when adding in building construction industry emissions. In fact, COP27 has a whole themed day around decarbonization, and another for biodiversity. This means that developing smarter buildings, retrofitting existing buildings, and integrating biophilic design aspects into the built environment will be vital in reaching goals to achieving net zero and mitigating climate change.

So at COP27, it is vital for heads of government, negotiators, and other attendees to create reliable frameworks that will pave the way for effective and lasting change in the natural environment. Both global summits aim to tackle biodiversity loss and climate change to lessen the threat against our planet.

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