OTTAWA, Ont., August 29, 2019 – The Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society (CPAWS) today unveiled its report, Finding Common Ground: Six steps for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss in Canada, providing a high-level roadmap for policy makers to harness ecosystem conservation and deliver win-win climate and biodiversity benefits by 2030.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are among the most pressing challenges facing global society and the natural world. Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are produced and wildlife habitat is degraded when land is cleared through activities such as deforestation. This degradation also reduces the ability of ecosystems to protect us from floods and other environmental disasters.
Florence Daviet, National Forest Program Director at CPAWS and author of the report, points out that many of the proposed steps could be taken immediately, such as the creation of a nature-based climate solutions fund. “CPAWS is calling for a billion-dollar fund for developing and implementing projects that would reduce GHG emissions from land-use change and ecosystem degradation while benefitting biodiversity,” says Daviet. “We also need to address the fundamental drivers of land-use change and degradation if such solutions are to be sustainable. This fund would spark the type of innovative and collaborative work needed.”
Beyond the fund, the report focuses on how other climate policy strategies could be applied in the coming years: setting caps on GHG emissions produced by ecosystem degradation and expanding the Greenhouse Gas Pollution Pricing Act to include the largest contributors to these emissions.
Dale Marshall, National Program Manager at Environmental Defence, says, “The fund would be a great start, but ultimately we need to systematically change how we manage our lands in order to contribute solutions to the twin challenges of climate change and the loss of species and ecosystems. Hopefully this paper starts a conversation on how we can do that.”
Making nature count in climate policyIt is important to note that the major challenge in attempting to resolve biodiversity loss and climate change simultaneously is that not all conservation measures will result in GHG emissions reductions, and not all climate change solutions will benefit biodiversity. The federal government needs to recognize that ecosystems can provide long-term benefits for biodiversity and climate mitigation despite this challenge and unpredictable environmental events.
“We are building a strong body of knowledge on these issues in Canada. We know Canadians understand our ecosystems are a vital part of the fabric of our country; their protection is key for wildlife conservation and climate change mitigation. It’s time for us to pull this lever and start managing our ecosystems with both issues clearly in mind,” says Daviet.
Finding Common Ground: Six steps for tackling climate change and biodiversity loss in CanadaRead the full report here.