Monday’s summit is expected to launch a critical year for efforts to stem the devastating effects of global warming.
World leaders will attempt to revive international environmental diplomacy on Monday with a biodiversity summit that will usher in a critical year for efforts to stem the devastating effects of global warming and species loss.
The momentum on climate and biodiversity came to a standstill in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, a health crisis that experts say illustrates the many diverse dangers of environmental destruction.
The One Planet Summit, a largely virtual event organized by France in partnership with the United Nations and the World Bank, will bring together French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Chief Antonio Guterres, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and President of the European Union Ursula von der Leyen.
Organizers want to lay the groundwork for UN biodiversity talks – postponed due to the pandemic – to be held in China in October and see nearly 200 countries attempt to set new goals to preserve Earth’s battered ecosystems .
France hopes that the summit will bring together issues related to the climate and the protection of ecosystems, a source from the Elysee Palace told AFP news agency, adding that with global warming, the preservation of biodiversity is ” our group life insurance ”.
So far, efforts to protect and restore nature on a global scale have failed dramatically.
The planet is on the cusp of a mass extinction event in which species are disappearing at 100 to 1,000 times the normal “background” rate, most scientists agree.
The UN’s Scientific Advisory Group on Biodiversity warned in a landmark 2019 report that one million species are threatened with extinction, mainly due to habitat loss and overexploitation.
Human activity, she concluded, had “seriously degraded” three-quarters of the planet’s ice-free land.
The situation on climate change is just as dire.
As part of the 2015 Paris Agreement, the world’s nations pledged to cap global warming “well below” 2 ° C and 1.5 ° C if possible.
With just over 1 ° C of warming so far, the world has seen a crescendo of deadly droughts, heat waves, flooding rains and super-storms made more destructive by rising seas.
The EU’s climate watch service said 2020 was the hottest year on record.
Guterres warned last month that nations were not doing enough to avoid devastating temperature rises and urged world leaders to declare a “climate emergency” in their countries.
The next major UN climate summit, COP26, has also been postponed due to the pandemic and is now scheduled to be held in November.
Participants in Monday’s talks are “ready to demonstrate that their commitments lead to concrete actions to preserve and restore biodiversity, and lead systemic transformations of economies,” according to a summit statement.
Leaders will present initiatives on four themes – protecting terrestrial and marine ecosystems, agroecology, financing biodiversity and the link between deforestation, species and human health.
Last October, the UN Biodiversity Expert Panel warned that future pandemics would occur more often, kill more people and cause even worse damage to the global economy than COVID-19 without fundamental change. in the way humans treat nature.
The summit will also launch the High Ambition Coalition – a group of 45 countries led by Costa Rica, France and Britain – which aims to secure a global deal to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans from ‘by 2030.