Action on Biodiversity


Delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic, the first part of the UN’s 15th Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15 or “Biodiversity COP”) being held this week brings into focus the urgent need for immediate action on global biodiversity.

Held as a precursor to the in-depth negotiations expected to take place in person in May 2022 and positioned ahead of COP26, the resounding message is a need to “raise the ambition” and agree a new global deal to reverse biodiversity loss by 2050. During the conference, 100 countries signed up to the Kunming Declaration. This non-binding document pledges “to reform incentive structures, eliminating, phasing out or reforming subsidies and other incentives that are harmful to biodiversity” and “to mobilise additional financial resources from all sources, and align all financial flows in support of the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.”


The IPCC sixth assessment report – the physical science basis


Low Carbon‘s commitment to climate action

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s ground-breaking report,[1] compiled by a group of 234 scientists from 66 countries, showed that temperatures will exceed 1.5C above industrial levels within the next two decades unless fossil fuels are phased out. This report was the first part of the sixth assessment report and details the core underlying science regarding climate change – two further instalments on the impact of the climate crisis and ways of reducing those impacts will follow next year.  So far, the report  has shown that the emission of carbon dioxide, or CO2, caused by the burning of carbon-based fuels, is significantly contributing to global warming. This is expected to cause temperatures to exceed 1.5C above industrial decades. Described as a “code red for humanity”[2] the report is a powerful warning to us all and reinforces Low Carbon’s belief that climate change is the greatest emergency facing humanity.


Climate change and the role of renewable energy


The International Energy Agency (IEA) said in a landmark special report released on 18 May 2021 on the Global Energy Sector, that the climate pledges made by governments around the world to date would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to net-zero by 2050 even if they were fully achieved. This means that these pledges are insufficient and would not give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C. In order to reach net-zero emissions by 2050, in their report the IEA purported that global investment in renewable energy needs to be ramped up significantly; investments in energy should be more than double from $2tn (£1.42tn) a year to $5tn (£3.54tn). The result would be a net benefit to the global economy.

While electricity generation is the single biggest contributor to climate change – responsible for 25% of all greenhouse gas emissions and growing every day[i][1] – it is an even bigger part of the solution. With clean electricity, we will unlock a source of carbon-free energy to help power the sectors of the economy that produce the other 75% of greenhouse gas emissions.


The Importance of Nature


The importance of reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 has been and continues to be highlighted by many of the world’s governments and corporations in the past few years. The intrinsic need for nature-centric solutions to achieve this greener future has, however, been largely overlooked – until now. This week’s ‘net zero’ for nature announcement by the UK government and its proposed pathway to become a global leader in halting the destruction of biodiversity is a much-needed development to protect our planet. Climate action and the enhancement and protection of nature must go hand in hand, and we fully support the 2030 biodiversity targets as a critical milestone towards a low carbon future.

There is much to do. In the 2019 IPBES report on biodiversity, scientists reported that, on average, 25% of animal and plant species are threatened, meaning that 1 million species face extinction within the next few decades, unless serious action is taken to reduce the factors which drive the loss of biodiversity.[1]


Trees and Climate Change


If we were to search for a positive to come out of the past year, it was the opportunity for society to take pause, and consider life beyond the pandemic. A new-found appreciation for clean air and green spaces has kick-started a wave of “build back better and greener” sentiments.

As a result of this shift, tomorrow marks the inaugural World Rewilding Day  – celebrating the return of nature and exploring solutions to conserve existing wild spaces so that birds, bees, bugs and small wildlife can be restored.