A mineral stained salt bed in The Great Western Woodlands of Western Australia
Salt bed in WA Mineral stains color a dry salt lake bed in the Great Western Woodlands of Western Australia. Comprising more then 39 million acres, the Great Western Woodlands is the largest temperate woodland and heathland left on earth. The woodlands form a critical connection between the wetter south west forests and dryer inland desert. The Nature Conservancy is working with Australian partners to preserve and protect this important ecoregion. © Mark Godfrey/The Nature Conservancy


The window is narrowing, COP28 must be about action

As the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 opens in Dubai and world leaders gather to coordinate climate action, it’s never been more clear that we need to shift from words to action.

As we increasingly experience the repercussions of a changing climate, from catastrophic bushfires to dramatic floods, we collectively need to reflect on the conclusions of the first-ever official UN report card on the world’s climate progress – the Global Stocktake – which detailed the current gulf between ambition and action.

Eight years ago, the Paris Agreement on climate change was signed, with the ambition to limit the rise in global temperature to less than 2 °C from pre-industrial levels. In contrast, the Global Stocktake report shows that we are aiming at an increasing of more than 2.5°C. There is no room for hesitation: we must increase our ambition and put emphasis on action now.

By definition, political negotiations and multi-lateral agreements evolve on long timeframes, in opposition to the urgency faced by our planet. They are necessary and this year again, The Nature Conservancy will be at the forefront of negotiations – pushing for the equitable phase-out of fossil fuels to achieve net zero by 2050 or sooner.

In addition to this longer lead time scale, we need to be able to harness the collective power of communities, Indigenous knowledge, science and adequate financing to take action without delay. Around Australia, we are already seeing efforts and actions driven by communities, which put nature at the centre of projects and programs to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Nature is part of the solution, we need urgent action and financing to support its role.

COP28 offers a platform for The Nature Conservancy to advocate for the recognition of the role nature plays towards net zero. We will advocate for a strong focus on harnessing the carbon-storing power of nature, while also tripling global renewable energy capacity by 2030.

We will advocate for inclusive and equitable processes. In Australia we know that outcomes are much stronger for people and nature when Indigenous groups shape nature-positive solutions and benefit from them.

We will advocate for world leaders – across government, civil society and corporate entities – to deliver major investment packages, increase pledges, execute much-needed reforms, and leverage financial tools to embed and de-risk climate action to support the global economy.

The Nature Conservancy is wanting to see the following actions taken at COP28:

·       Embed nature in the Global Stocktake: there is no credible way to net-zero emissions without including nature as a solution.

·       Triple global renewable energy capacity by 2030 in ways that support climate, nature conservation, and communities.

·       Increase inclusivity and equity in climate policy processes: traditionally marginalised groups, like IPLCs, steward 80% of the world's cultural and biological diversity, and their involvement is crucial in shaping nature-positive solutions and climate policies.

·       Deliver major investment packages and nature-related commitments to include the Mangrove and Coral Reef Breakthroughs, the Freshwater Challenge, and the Emirates Accord.

·       Ensure nature’s role is clear in the Global Goal on Adaptation (GGA): there should be clear metrics to showcase nature’s role in adaptation and how it benefits people and planet.

·       Increase financial pledge implementation, including the New Quantified Climate Finance Goal: The renewed $100 billion pledge should go further and include both private and public sector financing.

·       Dramatically increase private investment and build upon existing public funds to grow climate finance to scale and incorporate climate change into how our global economy functions.

·       Ensure increased guarantees for nature and climate financing to help countries manage debt and fund nature and climate initiatives to magnify the finance available and harness the power of large development organizations.

·       Immediate action on Loss and Damage to ensure climate-vulnerable and low-income populations are able to address impacts that disproportionately affect them.

·       Responsibly develop carbon markets: we need high integrity carbon crediting by developing Article 6 rules on risk management, improving the quality of nature-based credits, and ensuring transparent reporting.

Alongside the long-term horizon of political negotiations, nature is here, now, contributing to net zero and helping communities adapt to the effects of climate change. We know what works, we need to urgently scale it up. COP28 is also a call for everyone to take responsibility and provide catalytic financing to nature solutions

There has never been a better time. Our actions today can change our tomorrow.