How do we best synergise climate mitigation actions to co-benefit biodiversity?

Pete Smith* (Corresponding Author), Almut Arneth, David K A Barnes, K Ichii , P. Marquet, A Popp, H. O. Pörtner, A. D. Rogers, R.J. Scholes, B Strassburg, J. Wu, H. T. Ngo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

A multitude of actions to protect, sustainably manage and restore natural and modified ecosystems can have co-benefits for both climate mitigation and biodiversity conservation. Reducing greenhouse emissions to limit warming to less than 1.5 or 2°C above preindustrial levels, as outlined in the Paris Agreement, can yield strong co-benefits for land, freshwater and marine biodiversity and reduce amplifying climate feedbacks from ecosystem changes. Not all climate mitigation strategies are equally effective at producing biodiversity co-benefits, some in fact are counterproductive. Moreover, social implications are often overlooked within the climate-biodiversity nexus. Protecting biodiverse and carbon-rich natural environments, ecological restoration of potentially biodiverse and carbon-rich habitats, the deliberate creation of novel habitats, taking into consideration a locally adapted and meaningful (i.e., full consequences considered) mix of these measures, can result in the most robust win-win solutions. These can be further enhanced by avoidance of narrow goals, taking long term views and minimising further losses of intact ecosystems. In this review paper, we first discuss various climate mitigation actions that evidence demonstrates can negatively impact
biodiversity, resulting in unseen and unintended negative consequences. We then examine climate mitigation actions that co-deliver biodiversity and societal benefits. We give examples of these win40 win solutions, categorised as ‘protect, restore, manage and create’, in different regions of the world that could be expanded, upscaled and used for further innovation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalGlobal Change Biology
Early online date24 Dec 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 24 Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Climate change mitigation
  • biodiversity
  • nature-based solutions
  • co-benefits
  • trade-offs

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