Dbytes #479 (9 June 2021)

Info, news & views for anyone interested in biodiversity conservation and good environmental decision making

“Key conclusion: the wealthier an individual household (and the country they live in) is, the less climate change is rated as a concern.”
Sarah Ann Wheeler


In this issue of Dbytes

1. Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers
2. Understanding biodiversity offsets
3. Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say
4.
Sharma v Minister for the Environment (Duty of care over a coal mine approval)
5. The pandemic has undone South Africa’s national parks
6. A Nonprofit Promised to Preserve Wildlife. Then It Made Millions Claiming It Could Cut Down Trees.
7. ‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees


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1. Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers

This report, prepared by the OECD as an input to the United Kingdom’s G7 Presidency in 2021, provides policy guidance for finance, economic and environment ministries to underpin transformative domestic and international action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss.

The analysis focuses on four priority action areas for governments. First, adapting measures of national performance to better reflect natural capital, and mainstreaming biodiversity into strategies, plans, policies and projects. Second, better leveraging fiscal policy and economic instruments to support the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, including in COVID-19 recovery packages. Biodiversity-related tax revenues, for example, account for just 0.9% of all environmentally related tax revenues. Third, embedding nature-related dependencies, risks and impacts into the financial sector. Fourth, improving biodiversity outcomes linked to trade, including by reforming environmentally harmful and market distorting government support, which stands at more than USD $800 billion per year.


Biodiversity, natural capital and the economy: a policy guide for finance, economic and environment ministers

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2. Understanding biodiversity offsets

Biodiversity offset policies & practices are complicated. The decisions we make about offsets may seem abstract but make a big difference to biodiversity outcomes. This series of 9 short, plain-language videos helps explain key concepts and challenges.

https://www.impactmitigation.org/videos

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3. Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say

A new study by the ICCA Consortium, an international association, says human rights must be included in conservation policies to save the world’s vanishing biodiversity. The study focuses on 17 Indigenous and local communities worldwide, showing how their traditional practices and unique governance systems protect ecosystems and biomes better than states or other bodies. Researchers insist that human rights be central to the he post-2020 global biodiversity framework expected to be adopted in October at COP15, where world leaders will sign a new 10-year commitment to protect biodiversity in the midst of what scientists call the Earth’s sixth mass extinction.

Human rights must be at heart of new biodiversity framework, experts say (mongabay.com)

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4. Sharma v Minister for the Environment (Duty of care over a coal mine approval)

The Minister lost and owes children a duty of care when considering approval of a coal mine. But the finding is adventurous and may be overturned.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/

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5. The pandemic has undone South Africa’s national parks

Without tourism, the funding that sustains some of the world’s most treasured wildlife has atrophied.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2021/06/covid-19-tourism-conservation-south-africa/619091/

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6. A Nonprofit Promised to Preserve Wildlife. Then It Made Millions Claiming It Could Cut Down Trees.

The Massachusetts Audubon Society has managed its land as wildlife habitat for years. Here’s how the carbon credits it sold may have fuelled climate change.

https://www.propublica.org/article/a-nonprofit-promised-to-preserve-wildlife-then-it-made-millions-claiming-it-could-cut-down-trees

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7. ‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees

Planting trees by the millions has come to be considered one of the main ways of reining in runaway carbon emissions and tackling climate change. But experts say many tree-planting campaigns are based on flawed science: planting in grasslands and other non-forest areas, and prioritizing invasive trees over native ones. Experts point out that not all land is meant to be forested, and that planting trees in savannas and grasslands runs the risk of actually reducing carbon sequestration and increasing air temperature. The rush to reforest has also led to fast-growing eucalyptus and acacia becoming the choice of tree for planting, despite the fact they’re not native in most planting areas, and are both water-intensive and fire-prone.

‘Bad science’: Planting frenzy misses the grasslands for the trees (mongabay.com)

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About Dbytes

Dbytes is a weekly eNewsletter presenting news and views on biodiversity conservation and environmental decision science. ‘D’ stands for ‘Decision’ and refers to all the ingredients that go into good, fair and just decision-making in relation to the environment.

From 2007-2018 Dbytes was supported by a variety of research networks and primarily the Centre of Excellence for Environmental Decisions (CEED). From 2019 Dbytes is being produced by David Salt (Ywords).

If you have any contributions to Dbytes (ie, opportunities and resources that you think might think be of value to other Dbyte readers) please send them to David.Salt@anu.edu.au. Please keep them short and provide a link for more info.

Anyone is welcome to receive Dbytes. If you would like to receive it, send me an email and I’ll add you to the list.

David


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