Climate action on Biodiversity
Evolutionary processes have generated a rich and wonderful palette of species and ecosystems, each worthy of protection for their own sake, and upon which humans also ultimately depend for their existence and well-being. Among other services, ecosystems capture CO2 and therefore contribute to climate change mitigation. Vegetation in general helps people adapt to new climate conditions by acting as a thermo-regulator in and around cities. Human-driven actions – primarily land conversion, overexploitation of natural resources and climate change – have become unsustainable. In other words, humans are now causing a net loss of species richness and hampering nature’s ability to contribute to human well-being.
All institutions can contribute to the protection of biodiversity and its contributions to human well-being through a two-pronged approach. First, each actor can manage its land holdings to favour nature-positive outcomes. Recent work has identified simple measures that guide institutions on how to favour local biodiversity. In addition, Switzerland has one of the highest environmental footprints in the world (4.3 global hectares per capita in 2018) so each actor must also consider the undesirable impacts on biodiversity through consumption and trade processes. Indeed, the import of processed goods, raw materials, and food causes detrimental impacts elsewhere, which are often out of sight and out of mind. Hence, the second approach entails the identification of measures that significantly reduce these invisible impacts.
The 2050Today Charter recommends institutions to take action towards the following Biodiversity objectives when defining their action plan.
1. Increasing the naturality of the facilities
2. Assessing and reducing key consumption pathways that negatively affect biodiversity
Biodiversity objectives seek to both promote local biodiversity by contributing to the Greater Geneva’s Green Instructure and reduce the negative impacts on biodiversity elsewhere, while adapting to and mitigating climate change. The topics addressed are based on recent work in Geneva for mainstreaming biodiversity-friendly measures into urban planning, the Canton’s Biodiversity Action plan, and the Greater Geneva’s Charter for an Ecological Transition in 2050.