Forest & Bird is calling for the Government to progress nature-based solutions to climate change ahead of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report, due out today.
“If we help the natural world, our forests, waterways and oceans will help us keep a liveable planet,” says Forest & Bird Chief Executive Kevin Hague.
“Nature-based climate solutions are practical, achievable, and will help us solve the climate and biodiversity crises together."
Forest & Bird says there are five key actions the Government should take to tackle climate change in its Emissions Reduction Plan, which is due before the end of the year:
- Removing fossil fuels from our energy system and stopping new coal mines
- Bringing agriculture into the emissions trading scheme
- Expanding control and eradication of browsing pests like deer, goats, pigs, wallabies, and possums
- Protecting, restoring, and re-establishing native forests and wetlands to store more carbon
- Restoring carbon stocks in the sea by protecting mangroves, kelp beds, and the sea floor
“Actions the Government could take right now include stopping new coal mines, protecting our forests by controlling browsing pests; restoring peat wetlands; and protecting blue carbon by ending practices like bottom trawling.”
The IPCC report on the physical science of climate change and its impacts is the first big report in eight years. It is expected to provide clarity and urgency on soaring temperatures, rising seas, and extreme weather.
“The stark reality is that unless we reduce our greenhouse gas emissions, we are heading for mass extinctions and unlivable world. This report should lead to renewed urgency for action,” says Mr Hague.
Forest & Bird is calling on the Government to end new or expanded coal mines, to avoid locking us in to high-emissions for decades to come, and has backed a Ministry for the Environment report which shows food production methods must change.
“Any calls for delays or exceptions by industry laggards are putting the whole planet in danger. There is no more time for excuses – we need to cut emissions now,” says Mr Hague.
“While the first step is to cut emissions, we also have to increase nature’s ability to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This isn’t just a matter of planting more trees, we have to protect and restore our existing carbon sinks – wetlands, blue carbon, shrublands, mangroves, and existing forests.”
A report released by Forest & Bird this year shows better control of browsing pests could sequester a huge amount of extra carbon in our forests, while other information shows restoring peat wetlands could be a secret weapon in solving climate change.
“Nature can help us stabilise the climate, but only if we protect it,” adds Mr Hague.