Protecting nature is central to the climate change debate

Published date: 12 January 2024

Reflections on COP28 and what it means for biodiversity

Last month in the United Arab Emirates, the global community gathered for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP28), resulting in an important agreement signed on commitments and actions that seek to mitigate climate change.

A team from GRI was on the ground in Dubai, making the case for organizations to be accountable for their impacts as enabled by sustainability reporting. That included Margherita Barbieri, who has written on Medium about the growing recognition that safeguards for the natural environment underpin efforts to address global temperature rises:

The crucial intersection of climate and biodiversity: a look back on COP28

As Margherita addresses, nature is much more than just a ‘mitigation tool’ in the climate change debate, with important steps reached during COP28:

  • Consensus on the urgency of more protections for biodiversity – from the oceans depths to the mountain tops
  • Launch of the Declaration on Sustainable Agriculture, Resilient Food Systems and Climate Action
  • The role of nature and biodiversity reflected in the final COP28 Global Stocktake

The global temperature is racing towards an anomaly of +1.5 degrees too quickly and it is critical to rely on nature to slow down this dangerous escalation. In fact, it will not be possible to reach the Paris Agreement and keep temperatures below this threshold without the absorption of CO2 that comes from the ecosystem services provided by nature. With the ink barely dry on the COP28 declaration, we need to remember that safeguarding nature, with transparency achieved for the impacts of organizations around the world, is absolutely non-optional if we are to stand any chance of turning the commitments signed last month in the concrete jungle of Dubai into reality.

Margherita Barbieri, Standards Manager

GRI is currently consulting on new Climate Change and Energy Standards, open for public comment until 29 February. A revised GRI Biodiversity Standard is set to launch in the coming weeks.