COP15: thoughts on the biodiversity summit

Government representatives have convened in Montreal for the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15), which ends on 19 December. Commentators observe with concern that the meetings to promote species conservation are receiving less attention than the climate conferences, the most recent of which was COP27 in Egypt.

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The Guardian (GB) /

Humans also threatened with extinction

Many people are still not aware of the gravity of the situation, The Guardian laments:

“In Paris in 2015, a legally binding treaty committed the world's nations to action to tackle the climate crisis. Something similar is required in Montreal. ... Disappointingly, no heads of state are expected to attend this week's summit - in stark contrast to the Cop27 climate talks in Egypt last month. That is not good enough. Our human fate is ultimately bound up with nature and the countless species hurtling towards extinction.”

Süddeutsche Zeitung (DE) /

The time for voluntary action is over

The Süddeutsche Zeitung lists all that must be accomplished in Montreal:

“First of all, 30 percent of the earth's landmass and 30 percent of the oceans must be placed under protection. ... Secondly, developing countries with high biodiversity must be compensated by industrialised countries, where biodiversity is generally low, so as to preserve the last remnants of intact nature. ... Thirdly, the time for voluntary action is over! ... This time, everything that is agreed upon in Montreal must be binding. For that to happen we need a monitoring body that checks whether countries are on the right track.”

Irish Examiner (IE) /

China should seize this opportunity

Beijing must live up to its leadership role in Montreal, the Irish Examiner demands:

“China, which holds the presidency for Cop15, is the world's biggest carbon emitter - although Canada, the US and Australia have much higher CO2 emissions per capita. It will be the first time Beijing has taken the lead on a major UN environmental agreement. Cop15 was moved from Kunming to Montreal earlier this year due to China's zero-Covid policy, but it still presents a chance for the country to show off its 'ecological civilisation' credentials to the world, a high-profile part of President Xi Jinping's domestic agenda.”

Der Nordschleswiger (DK) /

Lead the way with a coalition of the willing

Denmark should step up the pace on environmental protection even in the absence of a global consensus, Der Nordschleswiger argues:

“ It's perfectly clear that Denmark cannot achieve much on its own, of course. But this must no longer serve as an excuse. As the COP27 in Egypt has once again shown, we must not expect UN climate summits to come up with any solutions. What we need is 'coalitions of the willing' that are ready to lead the way. One obvious partner is considerably larger Germany.”

Le Courrier (CH) /

From one trap to another

We must ensure that the efforts to tackle the energy crisis don't further impact biodiversity, warns Le Courrier:

“The justified desire for national energy autonomy must not be realised at the expense of nature. If we listen to the operators of hydroelectric power plants, every drop should be used to drive the turbines. And it's just tough luck for our rivers and the biodiversity they contain! It is marketing mania that has led us into this impasse. It is illusory to think we can find a solution by focusing on this mania. We need to take a global approach that encompasses all dimensions: the joint legacy, social and biodiversity aspects. Otherwise, the solution could create as many problems as it supposedly solves.”