According to a new report by World Wildlife Fund (WWF), Australia has been named as one of the worst performers on biodiversity among a group of 100 nations, the Guardian reports. Australia is reported to have fared far from its climate change commitments as there are no measures to protect biodiversity in the country.
The report was published during the conference of parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in Egypt. The report highlighted the need for protecting nature and biodiversity under the climate commitments from countries under the Paris agreement.
The report assessed the climate commitments of 100 countries and measured whether they also helped countries meet key international commitments on biodiversity.
It’s not necessary for countries to include biodiversity measures in nationally determined contributions. But measures like safeguarding ecology and habitat and reducing deforestation play important roles in combating climate change.
“Given that resources are finite and that action in one area can have a knock-on effect in another, the best way forward is to take integrated action on climate, development, and nature,” the report states.
“Climate and biodiversity are intrinsically linked as climate change is one of the underlying drivers of habitat and biodiversity loss, while the deterioration of ecosystems and their services contributes to rising greenhouse gas emissions.”
Apart from Australia, the United States and Canada also hit the bottom due to the absence of commitments for biodiversity preservation. On the other hand, Latin America, south-east Asia, Caribbean, the Pacific rated higher in the list.
“Australia’s NDC is brief and focused on economy-wide targets, rather than detailed plan implementation,” the report states.
“In 2015, the government released their national climate resilience strategy, which better reflects an integration of biodiversity considerations into climate policy.”
Martin Taylor, a conservation scientist with WWF, said countries such as Indonesia were taking steps to reduce deforestation but “Australia is doing none of that”.
“There’s no commitment to end deforestation. In fact, we’ve had an explosion in deforestation recently,” he said.
“We’re not performing at all because deforestation isn’t even mentioned in the NDC to the climate agreement.”
The developed countries definitely need to step up their game and come out as the big contributors to tackling climate change.
“It is clear from the meeting in Egypt that Australia is going to need to ramp up its policy ambition if we are to move off of the bottom ranks for protecting nature and wildlife,” said James Trezise, a policy analyst with the Australian Conservation Foundation.
“There is an important opportunity for both major parties to think about how their policies can contribute to a new deal for people and nature, especially in the context of a likely May election.”