Time to Move Beyond ‘Climate Lensing’ – addressing climate and nature as an integrated whole

Thought Leadership

Commentary by Robin Millington, CEO, Planet Tracker

At long last the climate agenda is coming together with the nature and biodiversity agenda. A first of its kind collaboration between the two intergovernmental organizations addressing biodiversity loss and climate change means they are using their respective science-policy platforms to align these two important efforts more closely.  By doing so, better integrated solutions can be sought to a vast array of looming environmental and related social problems. The risk has been that siloed thinking might solve one problem but create unintended issues for other parts of our global systems.

The climate movement has been highly successful in concentrating global attention on the risks posed by climate change and in achieving collective response to a global crisis. However, too many other serious problems have been primarily addressed with ‘Climate Lensing’ which in too many instances does not encompass the non-emissions related degradation occurring in our world.

Another global systemic issue deeply in need of change which is only beginning to gather the necessary attention by the global community is the Food System. We are rapidly hurtling towards tipping points in the world’s ability to feed a growing population, expected to be nearly 10 billion by 2050. However, just fixing the emissions issues will not solve this looming crisis. There are many aspects of the food system which are not being addressed by the climate movement and, in fact, some actions taken to fix climate might have negative impacts on our land and related food production. The ‘Climate Lensing’ of only looking at some land use issues (such as carbon sinks, bio-fuels, deforestation) is too narrow to solve the food issue.

Planet Tracker applauds this very important move towards integrated thinking about our environmental problems and welcomes the fact that our communities are moving beyond their silos as highlighted by release of this report[1].

The last year has seen a burst of activity around nature, certainly in the area in which Planet Tracker works which is nature-related finance. The launch of the TNFD[2] has been a very important step and initiatives such as IUCN’s Finance for Nature[3], the Finance for Biodiversity[4] (F4B) work (please see their recent paper on the Climate and Nature nexus (www.f4b-initiative.net/post/the-climate-nature-nexus-implications-for-the-financial-sector), the announcement of the IFRS Foundation[5] to accelerate convergence in global sustainability reporting standards, the Capitals Coalition[6] work and many more efforts are expanding the thinking. Climate and nature are not separate.

This comes at a crucial stage in a busy year for the international community, which is preparing to hold negotiations both for the 15th Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Conference of the Parties (COP15) in China and the 26th United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP26) in the United Kingdom. See International Sustainable Finance Redux https://planet-tracker.org/international-sustainable-finance-redux/

On 10 June 2021, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched the first ever co-sponsored workshop report on biodiversity and climate change (https://www.ipbes.net/events/launch-ipbes-ipcc-co-sponsored-workshop-report-biodiversity-and-climate-change). The main goal was to examine the synergies and trade-offs between the activities and polices of biodiversity protection and climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The objective of the IPCC is to provide governments at all levels with scientific information that they can use to develop climate policies. IPCC reports are also a key input into international climate change negotiations, as they provide information about the drivers of climate change, its impact and future risks, and how adaptation and mitigation can reduce those risks.[7]

IPBES is an independent intergovernmental body, established in 2012 to strengthen the science-policy interface for biodiversity and ecosystem services for the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, long-term human well-being and sustainable development.[8]

The new joint activity is based on the shared belief that biodiversity loss and climate change are inseparable threats to humanity that must be addressed together as they are deeply interconnected in ways that pose complex challenges to effective policy-making and action.

This creates the opportunity to maximize benefits and more successfully navigate the multiple systemic issues currently facing the planet.[9] We encourage the momentum to continue.



[1] https://www.ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2021-06/20210609_workshop_report_embargo_3pm_CEST_10_june_0.pdf

[2] https://tnfd.info/

[3] https://www.iucn.org/theme/business-and-biodiversity

[4]  https://www.f4b-initiative.net/

[5] https://www.ifrs.org/projects/work-plan/sustainability-reporting/

[6] https://capitalscoalition.org/

[7] https://www.ipcc.ch/about/

[8] https://www.ipbes.net/about

[9] https://www.ipbes.net/sites/default/files/2021-06/20210606%20Media%20Release%20EMBARGO%203pm%20CEST%2010%20June.pdf

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