The Australian Committee for IUCN
PUBLICATIONS / SYMPOSIUM SERIES / BIODIVERSITY & ECOSYSTEMS
The Role of Biodiversity and Ecosystems in Climate Change Mitigation
The symposium was the first of the ‘Science informing Policy’ Series. The partner for the symposium was the Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. Key note speakers included Professor Will Steffen, Climate Commissioner, Professor Brendan Mackey, Scientific Advisory Panel to the Climate Change Commission and Shayleen Thompson, Head of the Land Division of the Department of Climate Change.
The symposium focussed on the critical role of natural ecosystems in climate change mitigation. The role of biodiversity and ecosystems in climate change mitigation is recognised in international policy under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity Strategic Plan 2012-2020. Ecosystem-based strategies are increasingly discussed and embraced internationally for both mitigation and adaptation benefits .
The symposium took place at a time when national land carbon policy was being debated in Australia, with profound implications for conservation and more generally land use and land management across all tenures. This aspect of climate change policy had been inadequately addressed with policy concentrating on measures to reduce fossil fuel emissions and adaptation strategies. While major advances in these directions are crucial, the protection and restoration of natural ecosystems is a necessary third component of Australia’s responses to the multiple and unprecedented threats of climate change.
In May 2012 the Commonwealth government announced a Carbon and Biodiversity Fund which is investing $946m over six years to help land managers store carbon, enhance biodiversity and build greater environmental resilience across the Australian landscape. It provides support for the establishment of native vegetation or better management of existing native vegetation. For more information: http://www.environment.gov.au/cleanenergyfuture/biodiversity-fund/index.html
 Environment Department, The World Bank (2009). Convenient Solutions to an Inconvenient Truth: ecosystem-based approaches to climate change. June 2009.