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COP15 Biodiversity Summit: All You Need to Know

What is set to happen at the COP15 Biodiversity Summit, otherwise known as the Convention on Biological Diversity, this December in Montreal, Canada – and why are these recent events important?
Ecology News
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You’ve likely already heard about the annual Conference of Parties, better known as COP – with the most recent one being COP27, having just taken place in Sharm-El Sheikh, Egypt in Africa this past November.

However, the annual Biodiversity summit is a little different than this annual conference, also known as COP, where global leaders meet to discuss the impacts of climate change and how to mitigate them from causing more damage than they already have.

In this article, we'll review what is expected to happen at the COP15 Biodiversity summit, and why is this event important.

What is COP15?

COP15 is an annual Biodiversity conference that has been postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. This Conference of the Parties, in conjunction with the United Nations, is also known as the Convention on Biological Diversity – or CBD for short – and will be held over the course of two weeks from December 7th until December 19th of 2022 in Montreal, Canada.  

The annual Convention on Biological Diversity, otherwise known as CBD, serves as a yearly, cohesive discussion on how to protect plants, animals, and the overall planet from being negatively impacted by the effects of climate change more than they already have been.

For instance, those in attendance at COP15 might discuss new ways to make use of natural resources, such as renewable energy, or how to be more sustainable in order to prevent the use of plastic from filling up our oceans, which puts marine life in harm's way.

The first CBD took place back in 1992 in Brazil, and has since been ratified by 196 nations across the globe. Considering that the previous Convention on Biological Diversity hasn’t happened since 2018, it is expected that many figures of environmental authority will attend COP15 – with a vast variety of people in attendance as well, such as indigenous groups, business leaders, and journalists. 

COP15 is all about protecting biodiversity, but what is biodiversity?

Glacier with ash in the ice with melted water

What is Biodiversity? 

Biodiversity refers to all of the different forms of life you may find in a single location: such as trees, bacteria, fungi, fish, or birds.

Biodiversity remains pivotal for life on Earth – as biodiversity serves as a support system for all living creatures, but especially mankind.
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Biodiversity is most commonly known to be found in forests, oceans, and other vast areas of land – many which remain threatened by climate change, which continues to grow out of hand due to excessive human activity, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. 

👉 Biodiversity is the reason why the world can provide food to all natural living organisms that dwell on the planet, create fresh drinking water, maintain air quality control, stabilize soil, adjust the climate accordingly, deter the need for chemical-based products for pest control, and absorb excess carbon emissions.

In short, without biodiversity, or even biodiversity being greatly affected by the negative effects of climate change as it currently is – the world can’t regulate itself properly.

In turn, this is why humans continue to suffer negative consequences: such as natural disasters, destroyed harvests, and destructive heat waves that impact both the mental and physical health of humans.

The predominant issue with biodiversity is that humans are continuing to disrupt the Earth’s natural processes that are vital to the survival of all living things on the planet. This is why a separate conference, specified to speak about biodiversity instead of climate change as a whole, is necessary.

👉 Therefore, one of the goals of COP15 itself is to prevent global warming from negatively impacting biodiversity – as biodiversity itself can help in the fight against climate change.

Two parrots

What are the main goals of the Conventions on Biological Diversity (CBD)?

The planet can’t survive without biodiversity functioning as usual, which serves as the main goal of any convention on biological diversity – but what are the other reasons for holding an annual convention such as COP15?

The three main objectives for any Convention on Biological Diversity are to:

  1. Ensure the conservation of biodiversity and create any viable plans necessary to achieve this goal
  2. Encourage the use of the sustainable aspects provided by biodiversity itself, such as the use of climate smart farming or natural resources.
  3. To equally divide these resources equally; including both the use of finite and infinite resources – and determine how each should be used in accordance with the main goal of protecting biodiversity for the sake of fighting against climate change and preserving all forms of life on the planet. 

👉 Basically, the main goals of a Convention on Biological Diversity are to create concrete action plans to ensure that the natural resources and environmental advantages of utilizing biodiversity itself are made useful – in addition to mitigating further harm to biodiversity. 

How do these goals for COP15 differ from the objectives for a conference like COP27?

People in a conference

How is COP15 different from COP27?

Given COP27 is known to cover a wide-array of climate change issues, some may wonder why there is a need for COP15 at all.

👉 However, conferences like COP27 and a Convention on Biological Diversity, while similar in their efforts to protect the planet and future life for human kind – aren’t exactly alike.

First of all, despite the fact that both annual meetings are referred to as “COP” – they are two separate meetings with two different goals, even though the progression of each objective benefits the other. Basically, COP15 aims to protect biodiversity and COP27, or the Conference of the Parties for the United Nations – is determined to mitigate climate change.

Fighting against climate change can help to protect biodiversity, and preserving biodiversity can help prevent the global surface temperature from rising more than it already has – but these two conferences still aren’t exactly the same, even if they might help one another out in the process. 

COP27 was an overall, broader discussion of climate change and the actions that global governments and leaders should take to fight against climate change. For instance, a new loss and damage fund was released in order to assist developing countries in paying for the damages for natural disasters that may occur as a result of climate change. However, many have expressed their disappointment with COP27 – claiming that this year’s Conference of the Parties failed to establish the measures necessary to truly mitigate climate change. 

COP 15, on the other hand, is a more concise and topic-focused discussion as opposed to COP27 – where all the effects of climate change are to be discussed and consequential action plans are to be developed. COP15 is solely focused on biodiversity, as opposed to all the potential detrimental side-effects of climate change – which is what COP27 is responsible for dissecting and disseminating. 

There is one more thing that COP15 and COP27 share in common. Similar to COP27, this year’s COP15 is highly anticipated – but why?

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Why is this COP15 more important than the previous one?

This year’s Convention on Biological Diversity holds a lot of weight for a similar reason that this year’s COP27 was as highly anticipated as it was – the previous COP15 meeting was canceled because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

In fact, unlike COP27 where there was a two year gap in between the Conference of the Parties – there was a four year gap in between the last Convention on Biological Diversity that took place in Sharm El-Sheikh back in 2018. Therefore, there will be a lot to discuss at the upcoming fifteenth annual conference at COP15 set to take place in Montreal, Quebec, Canada this December.

What are the most important topics to be discussed at COP15? 

Seeing as there hasn’t been a Convention on Biological Diversity in over 4 years, COP15 will have a lot of ground to cover – what’s on the agenda?

👉 It is expected that new plans will be proposed to protect nature and promote the importance of sustainability – especially in the midst of climate change and several species facing extinction.

To cast an even darker side of the predicament, the food and water we drink is also contingent on biodiversity.

Therefore, the conversations and potential plans to move forward with protecting biodiversity at COP15 will be more imperative than ever before. 

Green forest

Also to be discussed at COP15 is the impact of biodiversity on indigenous habitats – many of which value taking care of nature so that it will take care of us. Every time a company destroys a forest for the sake of industrialization, it creates a domino effect of forcing the indigenous settlers in that area to flee as well as an impaired biodiversity system. This is expected to be discussed in full at COP15. 

Clearly, COP15 has a lot to do in order to catch up to speed in a similar way COP27 was pressurized to do so.

Is COP15 expected to be a let down in the same way COP27 was reported to be?

Will COP15 be likely to disappoint just as much as COP27 did?

The thing about COP15, is that while the premise is valuable in the midst of climate change – is that it hasn’t proven successful in the past. 

👉 A major problem with COP15 is that its goal is to ensure that biodiversity is valued by 2050 – but the problem is that this isn’t an early enough target date to set these biodiversity goals to be accomplished by.

Climate change is happening now, and in turn – more stringent and timely measures to protect biodiversity need to be taken. Previous conventions for biological diversity have failed to establish concrete measures, which could elicit fear of the same outcome for COP15 by many. 

However, not all hope is lost for COP15 yet. A pledge to protect at least 30% of the world’s land and sea areas before 2030 is supposedly in the works – and if enough countries vow to partake in this goal, COP15 could prove more successful than many may have previously thought it would.

If other long-term goals are fully fleshed out at COP15, such as the measures necessary to implement conservation tactics and encourage the sustainability of biodiversity – COP15 could be seen as a success.

There’s no way to know until COP15 happens in Montreal, Canada later this year – but we’ll keep you posted on what’s to come.

What about Greenly? 

If reading this article the COP15 Biodiversity summit has made you interested in reducing your carbon emissions to further fight against climate change – Greenly can help you!

Greenly can help you make an environmental change for the better, starting with a carbon footprint assessment to know how much carbon emissions your company produces.

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