Joining the dots: biodiversity and climate change

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Joining the dots: biodiversity and climate change

Published 17 November 2022

“Achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is only possible if we also act now to deliver a nature-positive society”

The objective of COP27’s biodiversity day was to highlight the consequences of climate change for biodiversity, and show how efforts to conserve biodiversity will assist in climate change mitigation and adaptation. Nowhere is this more vividly illustrated than in the Amazon rainforest.

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silvia, Brazil’s president-elect, arrived at COP27 yesterday and set the tone for the day. He said “Brazil is once again ready to join efforts to build a healthier planet ... The planet warns us at every moment that we need each other to survive … These are hard times. But it was always in difficult times that humanity overcame challenges. We need more confidence.” He announced that Germany and Norway had restarted the Amazon Fund, temporarily shut down under the Bolsonoro presidency, and proposed that Brazil host COP30 in 2025.

He also reminded developed countries of their broken promise to raise $100bn in climate finance and added to the growing calls for a finance mechanism to address loss and damage.

Lula’s pledge to protect the Amazon from further deforestation will be met with fierce opposition from the businesses that have exploited it. The hope of the world is that he triumphs: that message came through loud and clear yesterday.

Thérèse Coffey, the UK’s Environment Secretary, announced some actions to coincide with Biodiversity Day. She called on countries to come together to agree a “robust” global plan to tackle nature loss. She said the UK government will commit £30m of seed financing to the Big Nature Impact Fund (a new public-private fund for nature in the UK), another £12m to the Ocean Risk and Resilience Action Alliance, and a further £6m to support nature based solutions in developing countries.

The EU and African Union announced a new Team Europe Initiative of Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience in Africa, consolidating existing and new climate change adaption programmes of over €1bn. The initiative is based around four pillars: reinforcing early warning systems; developing and implementing climate and disaster risk finance and insurance tools; increasingly public sector readiness; and supporting climate risk data collection, aggregation and analysis.

In the UK, the new Environment Act 2021 included provisions for a 10% net-gain requirement for planning approval. Forthcoming secondary legislation introduced under the Act is expected to impose due diligence requirements for forest risk commodities, including cattle, cocoa, coffee, maize, palm oil, rubber and soy, with the aim of reducing illegal deforestation. These developments follow more stringent due diligence obligations in European Union law.

Work is also continuing to encourage corporate disclosures on nature-related financial disclosures. The Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures is developing a disclosure framework for reporting on nature-related risks, replicating the work by the Taskforce on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, which now form the foundation of many climate-related disclosure regimes across the world.

The imminent COP15 Biodiversity Summit is hoped to be an opportunity for progress on biodiversity. Figures fundamental to the creation of the Paris Agreement released a statement urging leaders to deliver a “Paris Agreement for nature”.

The statement says “There is no pathway to limiting global warming to 1.5°C without action on protecting and restoring nature… To be clear: achieving net zero emissions by 2050 is only possible if we also act now to deliver a nature-positive society."  Similar calls were made from almost 350 scientists, indigenous people, businesses and NGOs who have called for an ambitious, science-based and comprehensive agreement on nature.

Today’s events support our view that biodiversity will gain recognition on an equal footing to climate change. Like climate change, biodiversity creates risks to business and we expect to see growing regulation, new reporting obligations and increased litigation.

Macarena Cámbara, Partner at DACB, Chile says: “In recent times, one of the themes in Latin America has been biodiversity and how to recover the lost time in the battle against climate change.  

The insurance market has not fallen behind. Environmental Liability insurance incorporates important cleaning plans for both sudden and gradual pollution events and remediation plans in cases of fire, water and property contamination. We hope these measures will contribute to safeguard and recover our biodiversity globally.”

Join DAC Beachcroft as it follows the key themes of COP27 in its daily blog.  From 7 – 18 November, our sector experts will provide their insights on our COP27 collection as events unfold. Alternatively, click here to register for our daily COP27 updates straight to your inbox.

Authors

Campbell Dye

Campbell Dye

London - Walbrook

Macarena Cambara

Macarena Cambara

Santiago de Chile

Key Contacts

Helen Faulkner

Helen Faulkner

London - Walbrook

+44 (0)117 918 2225

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