Climate Change and UNFCCC
The 26th Conference of the Parties (COP 26) is due to be held between 1st and 12th November 2021 in Glasgow, Scotland. COP26 will be the first opportunity since the 2015 Paris Agreement came into effect, to assess collective progress towards achieving the Agreement and to inform additional individual actions to strengthen the ambition of Parties.
Why nature has an important place in the new agreement
- The degradation and conversion of natural ecosystems is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions. Protecting, maintaining and restoring natural ecosystems and their biodiversity is a proven, immediate and cost-effective approach for mitigating climate change, providing both emission reductions and removal of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Such nature-based solutions for mitigation and biodiversity conservation also deliver co-benefits such as enhanced resilience of ecosystems and local communities.
- Healthy ecosystems provide people with a natural defence against hazards such as flooding, sea-level rise and drought. They also provide people with important goods and services that underpin their livelihoods, including food, clean water and pollination services. Climate-smart conservation, restoration and sustainable management of ecosystems can therefore form an important component of adaptation strategies. However, the current scale of investment in and application of such ecosystem-based approaches to adaptation is grossly inadequate.
- Climate change has already had negative impacts on ecosystems and species on every continent. While ambitious mitigation action is essential and will help reduce the pressure on nature, some further impacts are inevitable requiring urgent action to enhance the resilience of ecosystems and help species adapt.
- Some types of climate change mitigation can pose unacceptable risks to nature and people if they are poorly planned. For example, large-scale hydropower dams on main stem rivers can be one of the most ecologically harmful forms of development, while bioenergy expansion has been linked to conversion of natural habitats, as well as competition for land, wood resources and water, food insecurity, and in some cases even increased emissions.
- Some types of climate change adaptation can also have negative impacts on ecosystems if planned poorly. This leads to maladaptation, where an adaptation measure unintentionally increases rather than decreases the vulnerability of ecosystems and/or the people who depend upon them.
BirdLife and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)
BirdLife has an active policy and advocacy programme addressing key aspects of the international climate change negotiations, and has been closely following the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) for many years.
The BirdLife Partnership has been represented by a strong multinational delegation at various COP over the years. BirdLife is also part of the Climate Action Network and often contributes to joint position papers for UNFCCC meetings.