COP15: what can the biodiversity agreement achieve?

Among other goals, the almost 200 countries participating in the World Biodiversity Summit in Montreal have agreed that at least 30 percent of the planet's land and marine areas are to be placed under protection by 2030. Europe's press discusses how effective this non-binding declaration can be in the bid to preserve biodiversity.

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Zeit Online (DE) /

Still time to reach this target

Zeit Online commends the agreement:

“If only because it comes now and not later. Many nature and environmental organisations see the 30/30 target as a worthy equivalent to the 1.5-degree goal set in Paris. A binding figure by which the world should orient itself. The Montreal Master Plan has a decisive advantage over the Paris Climate Agreement: there is still time to implement it. While scientists no longer seriously believe that it will be possible to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, the nature agreement still has a chance of success.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

No dragging our feet now

It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work, urges Dagens Nyheter:

“These are good starting points, but the decisive factor will be how they are interpreted and implemented. ... Think of how long it took before the climate crisis really became a serious topic in politics, and how much easier it would have been to tackle the problems 10 or 20 years ago. Let's not make the same mistake again and let thousands of species go extinct before we understand the need.”

The Guardian (GB) /

A terrible track record

The Guardian sees nothing but window dressing:

“The 23 targets in the Cop15 biodiversity agreement announced in Montreal on Monday are insufficient to prevent further irrecoverable losses, including among the many species threatened with extinction. The deal is not legally binding, leading to concerns about the prospects for implementation. The track record of global biodiversity plans is terrible. Every one of 20 targets set at Aichi in Japan in 2010 was missed. The new agreement was finalised despite complaints from African countries including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), home to one of the world's largest rainforests, which is threatened by oil and gas exploration.”

La Libre Belgique (BE) /

Not just about saving the last white rhino

La Libre Belgique emphasises the important role of biodiversity for the economy and climate protection:

“More than half of the global GDP depends on natural resources and services which are provided to us by nature in many areas: food, drinking water, energy, health. ... Protecting biodiversity therefore does not just mean saving the last white rhino. For example, the loss of pollinator insects alone could reduce agricultural yields by 500 billion dollars a year. Nor should we forget the buffer effect of terrestrial and marine ecosystems, the fact that they eliminate part of our carbon footprint by absorbing half of our CO2 emissions.”

Público (PT) /

Already too damaged

Just putting areas of land or sea under protection is no longer enough to preserve biodiversity, warns biologist Pedro Prata in Público:

“Right now, the main thing that needs to be done is to restore areas damaged by human activity in order to make ecosystems more complete and resilient and reduce the impact of human activities on the planet. It is necessary to rethink the word 'conserve' in Portugal, Europe and other regions of the world. It is no longer enough to conserve what is left of ecosystems, because even areas that are considered 'protected' are often degraded and have incomplete and non-functional ecosystems.”

Postimees (EE) /

Prevent sixth wave of extinction

Estonia needs to get busy, says Postimees:

“In Estonia, 23 percent of the land area is under protection, which means that here, too, we have to think about how and where to expand. The goals of the Montreal-Kunming Agreement are supported by scientists' warnings that the sixth wave of extinction is beginning on Earth because of human activity. This would be the greatest loss of living nature since the extinction of the dinosaurs on the planet. Conservation is expensive. More sustainable and nature-friendly behaviour is likely to slow down the economy and leave people poorer financially. But it's hard to measure the benefits of clean and biodiverse nature in money terms.”