Climate Change and UNFCCC
Delegates from 195 countries have gathered in Paris for the 21st Conferences of the Parties (COP) between November 30th and December 11th 2015 to negotiate a new global agreement on climate change.
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 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 also deliver a number of 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.
- Climate change mitigation actions 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.
- Climate change adaptation responses can have negative impacts on ecosystems. 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 is represented by a strong multinational delegation at COP21. BirdLife's asks for COP21 are available to read here. BirdLife is also part of the Climate Action Network and the REDD Safeguards Working Group and often contributes to joint position papers for UNFCCC meetings. See CAN's asks for COP21 here.