Climate Mitigation and Biodiversity Conservation
A significant proportion of carbon mitigation projects implemented through market mechanisms (e.g., trading and offset) have a focus on energy efficiency, renewable energy, forestry, transport, and industry sectors. At the same time, new natural climate solutions including ecosystem-based carbon credit projects are emerging rapidly.
The global increase in carbon mitigation efforts raises concerns about their potentially adverse impacts on natural ecosystems and biodiversity. Recent experience shows that while the carbon market approaches have progressed methodologies and standards for carbon accounting, they frequently do not address biodiversity conservation and wider sustainability issues adequately. To safeguard ecosystems and enhance biodiversity conservation, we suggest a paradigm shift in carbon mitigation policies. Carbon mitigation benefits from natural ecosystems should be considered as a co-benefit of biodiversity and ecosystem conservation programs, not the other way around. All carbon mitigation (and wider climate mitigation) projects must be designed to ensure triple-balanced outcomes: carbon mitigation, biodiversity conservation, and social wellbeing. To reliably achieve these outcomes, key steps include the review and realigning of existing policies on carbon pricing and revenue sharing, benefit sharing, and outcomes monitoring for climate mitigation schemes.