Dbytes #536 (10 August 2022)

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


“Across seven critical issues that enjoy substantial scientific consensus, as well as attitudes toward COVID-19 vaccines and mitigation measures like mask wearing and social distancing, results indicate that those with the highest levels of opposition have the lowest levels of objective knowledge but the highest levels of subjective knowledge.”
Nicholas Light et al, Science Advances
(2022)


In this issue of Dbytes

1. From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting
2. Free market think tank (the IPA) tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims
3. Trees are overrated
4. Triggering the safeguard or safeguarding the trigger: Climate, large emitters and the EPBC Act

5. A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values
6. Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors
7. Protecting 30% of Australia’s land and sea by 2030 sounds great – but it’s not what it seems

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1. From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting

The COVID-19 pandemic and related social and economic emergencies induced massive public spending and increased global debt. Economic recovery is now an opportunity to rebuild natural capital alongside financial, physical, social and human capital, for long-term societal benefit. Yet, current decision-making is dominated by economic imperatives and information systems that do not consider society’s dependence on natural capital and the ecosystem services it provides. New international standards for natural capital accounting (NCA) are now available to integrate environmental information into government decision-making. By revealing the effects of policies that influence natural capital, NCA supports identification, implementation and monitoring of Green Recovery pathways, including where environment and economy are most positively interlinked.

From COVID-19 to Green Recovery with natural capital accounting | SpringerLink

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2. Free market think tank (the IPA) tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims

“You cannot extrapolate the amount of coral at one small section of reef to the whole of John Brewer Reef; it is 15 kilometres in circumference. Nor can you make an assessment on the health of an ecosystem the size of Italy by just looking at one reef.” Coral cover is only one metric used to measure reef health. Other indicators include coral diversity, size, structure and assemblages of corals, which Dr Emslie said can take decades to recover to their pre-disturbance levels.

“The IPA’s campaign around coral bleaching and reef health has no scientific basis.”

Free market think tank tries to whitewash coral bleaching claims – RMIT University

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3. Trees are overrated

Preserving the world’s great expanses of grass could be essential to combatting climate change.

Trees Are Overrated – The Atlantic

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4. Triggering the safeguard or safeguarding the trigger: Climate, large emitters and the EPBC Act

If used together, these two mechanisms (a safeguard and a trigger) would be seeking to occupy much the same regulatory space. That’s why I argued that a climate trigger should be limited to actions that are not caught by the safeguard mechanism, such as land clearing. However, there are some benefits that are better delivered by one or other of the two mechanisms. This leads me to suggest that we can have the best of both, provided we ensure that the two mechanisms dovetail with each other and so avoid duplication.

https://sustainabilitybites.home.blog/2022/08/10/triggering-the-safeguard-or-safeguarding-the-trigger-climate-large-emitters-and-the-epbc-act/

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5. A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values

The authors present the first global analysis of the relationship between conservationist’s values and a broad range of conservationists’ characteristics, categorised into their educational and professional background, geographical context and personal experiences in childhood and adulthood. The results demonstrate that 13 of conservationists’ characteristics are statistically related to their values regarding the place of people. Science, capitalism and nonhuman entities in conservation, which has important implications for current debates on diversity and inclusion within the conservation community.

A global analysis of factors predicting conservationists’ values – Luque‐Lora – People and Nature – Wiley Online Library

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6. Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors

Does presenting people with many ways they can mitigate climate change reduce their pro-environmental behavior? We test for mitigation overload using a two wave survey experiment. People feel less efficacious when exposed to a large number of easy to accomplish mitigation tasks. People feel less efficacious when given too many ways to stop climate change that must be done regularly to be successful. After two weeks after seeing long lists of easy options reported engaging in fewer mitigation behaviors.

Too many ways to help: How to promote climate change mitigation behaviors – ScienceDirect

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7. Protecting 30% of Australia’s land and sea by 2030 sounds great – but it’s not what it seems

Plibersek promised to protect 30% of Australia’s land and waters by 2030. Australia committed to this under the previous government last year, joining 100 other countries that have signed onto this “30 by 30” target. While this may be a worthy commitment, it’s not a big leap. Indeed, we’ve already gone well past the ocean goal, with 45% protected. And, at present, around 22% of Australia’s land mass is protected in our national reserve system. To get protected lands up to 30% through the current approach will mean relying on reserves created by non-government organisations and Indigenous people, rather than more public reserves like national parks. This approach will not be sufficient by itself. The problem is, biodiversity loss and environmental decline in Australia have continued – and accelerated – even as our protected areas have grown significantly in recent decades. After years of underfunding, our protected areas urgently need proper resourcing. Without that, protected area targets don’t mean much on the ground.

https://theconversation.com/protecting-30-of-australias-land-and-sea-by-2030-sounds-great-but-its-not-what-it-seems-187435?

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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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