Dbytes #530 (21 June 2022)

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

“The expansion of environmental markets, including greater use of biodiversity offsets, is increasingly cited as central to boosting conservation investment and mainstreaming biodiversity within economic decision-making. But such approaches are far from a silver bullet. Nearly 30 years since the first Payments for Ecosystem Services trade, liquid markets with strong flows of capital to biodiversity conservation remain perpetually in a state of emergence. Biodiversity offsets often fail to fully compensate for biodiversity losses, even against a counterfactual of ongoing biodiversity decline, and there is not enough land available for tree planting to achieve climate-mitigation goals.”
Divya Narain et al, 2022 [See item 1]


In this issue of Dbytes

1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?
2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?
3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction
4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics
5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?
6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs
7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

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1. A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach?

The 1972 Stockholm Conference put environmental protection on the global agenda for the first time. But since then, biodiversity losses and increasing threats have outpaced the conservation response. A step change is needed to reverse this trend and will require scaled-up action across society, including from governments, businesses, and financial institutions.

A step change needed to secure a nature-positive future—Is it in reach? – ScienceDirect

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2. Lies, damned lies and … Environmental Economics?

A single fossil fuel development proposal in Australia is predicted to raise the global temperature by a tiny amount. With a world already overheating, should this new development be allowed? Government approval may well hinge on the idea of ‘economics of substitution.’

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/06/29/lies-damned-lies-and-environmental-economics/

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3. Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction

Eight per cent of trapped cats had endangered dunnarts in their stomach contents. Almost all the dunnarts’ habitat was hit by bushfires. New technology makes wiping out Kangaroo Island’s feral cats a possibility.

Kangaroo Island’s dunnarts were hit hard by bushfires. Now feral cats threaten them with extinction – ABC News

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4. Australia has a once in a lifetime opportunity to break the stranglehold fossil fuels have on our politics

The history of Australian climate policy — under both Labor and Coalition governments — shows very clearly that our large and powerful fossil fuel industry and its political clients are adept at devising “innovative” ways to ensure targets are achieved without obstructing the Lemming-like march toward ever more coal and gas production.

https://theconversation.com/australia-has-a-once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity-to-break-the-stranglehold-fossil-fuels-have-on-our-politics-184748?

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5. Climate Change Killed Conservation: Can We Still Protect Ecosystems?

If conservation is about “preserving” biodiversity or “restoring” ecosystems to past states, how can conservation strategies continue to serve a useful function relative to this period of climate change? Indeed, conservation as an unreconstructed set of management responses may actually accelerate the loss of biodiversity, untangling communities and ecosystems even as conservationists try to hold water through open fingers. Conservation is becoming the opposite of climate adaptation. When does conservation itself become environmental damage? Is conservation a lazy, unimaginative response to environmental change?

https://medium.com/@johoma/climate-change-killed-conservation-can-we-still-protect-ecosystems-80144df200e4

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6. Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs

Despite the green reputation of hydropower among policymakers, some reservoirs emit significant amounts of methane, along with much smaller amounts of nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide. That’s bad news because we already have a methane problem. This short-lived but potent gas packs 85 times the global warming punch of carbon dioxide over 20 years. If we hope to stave off catastrophic warming, scientists say we need to quickly cut methane. But new data show that despite this warning it’s still increasing at record levels — even with a global pledge signed by 100 countries to slash methane emissions 30% by 2030.

Methane can rise from wetlands and other natural sources, but most emissions come from human-caused sources like oil and gas, landfills and livestock. We’ve known about the threat from those sources for years, but emissions from reservoirs have largely been either uncounted or undercounted.

Dam Accounting: Taking Stock of Methane Emissions From Reservoirs – Resilience

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7. Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience

“Integrating Green and Gray – Creating Next Generation Infrastructure” is a joint report from the World Bank and the World Resources Institute (WRI) that aims to advance the integration of green and gray infrastructure solutions on the ground. It places a spotlight on the world’s growing infrastructure crisis, driven by climate change and growing populations. It proposes insights, solutions and examples for putting nature to work. It examines the technical, environmental, social and economic dimensions of a typical project assessment but also outlines, with new clarity and detail, the enabling conditions required to facilitate successful implementation of green-gray projects. Harnessing the collective analytical and technical expertise of the World Bank and WRI, it aims to build momentum in both policy and practice.

Putting Nature to Work: Integrating Green and Gray Infrastructure for Water Security and Climate Resilience (worldbank.org)

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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). Dbytes is supported by the Global Water Forum.

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.

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David Salt
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