ECO has called for greater funding on climate change and biodiversity protection in the upcoming Budget. ECO’s submission to the Finance and Expenditure Committee on the Government’s Budget Policy Statement called for a recognition of the need to fund both crises.
Climate change and biodiversity loss are twin crises of our time. They need to be responded to together to avoid perverse outcomes and to enhance nature-based solutions to both.
It is essential that the Government invest in creating a rapid transition to a zero carbon, low greenhouse gas emissions future, including in agriculture, as well as transport.
The budget allowance proposed in the Budget Policy Statement for climate, through the Climate Emergency Response Fund (CERF), is nowhere near what’s needed to address the climate crisis.
As the International Union for Nature (IUCN) has noted recently to respond to these crises (biodiversity and climate change) “will require unprecedented, fundamental, transformative changes in law and across all sectors of society”.
Overall ECO’s recommendation is for greater investment in climate change and indigenous biodiversity protection and restoration, as well as a need to move away from the focus on resource based economic growth and GDP, as this needed urgent transition occurs.
This generally needs to include more investment in:
- Indigenous biodiversity protection – to reduce threats, protect and restore;
- Reduction of weeds, pests, and pathogens;
- More emphasis on wellbeing and recognition of the co-benefits of provisions of reserves and marine protected areas;
- Phasing out of environmentally damaging activities such as bottom trawling or the imports of PKE in the intensification of farming;
- Development of open space and parks as part of nature-based solutions and recognition of the well-documented health and other co-benefits to people and communities as well as nature.
Emissions reductions needs to occur with carbon dioxide, methane and NOx. ECO said methane is a key gas with its much higher global warming potential of around 82.5 over 20 years. The relative short life of methane means drastic action now to cut methane emissions could make the planet cooler in our lifetime.
Transition away from mining and instead to more waste management and recovery of minerals from landfills (including urban mining) are a key to living within planetary limits and national limits.
ECO also recommended the need for added investment in public engagement and democratic principles, including those set out in developing Open Government Partnership commitments.
See the presentation and response to questions asked by Finance and Expenditure Select Committee Select Committee on 16 February.