The final weeks of 2022 saw a historic, if much delayed, global agreement for biodiversity reached at COP15 in Montreal, with a central pledge to protect 30% of the planet by the end of the decade.
If we needed a reminder of the scale of the challenge, the record-breaking warm weather across Europe in the first days of January should have been it.
The planet is deep into an ecological emergency and we are long past the time when bold promises for action can be delayed decades into the future.
A 2030 target for nature protection should, hopefully, help shake some complacency from those policymakers across the planet who perennially treat the environment as a problem to deal with tomorrow.
Scotland had adopted the ‘30 by 30’ commitment ahead of COP15 and the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy – published at the Montreal summit – sets the high-level aspirations for our approach to nature between now and 2045, including an ambition to be “nature positive” by 2030.
These goals are welcome, but meeting them will not be without challenges – not least, time.
2030 is not far off. We are rapidly approaching the mid-way point of the decade, and meaningful change will depend on the decisions being made today.
Crucially, the detail of how the Scottish Government intends to meet those ambitions will be set out in five year delivery plans, the first of which will be consulted on soon.
LINK recently commissioned opinion polling to measure public attitudes towards nature and key policy areas. The results should give Ministers confidence that the public will support ambitious action.
More than 80% say that they are worried about the impact of climate change and human activity on nature, and almost unanimously (96%) Scots say our natural environment is important to the country as a whole. Overwhelming majorities support pro-environmental policies such as ‘30 by 30’, prioritising native woodlands, and making sure that farm funding delivers for the planet.
The public know we’re in a crisis – and they want the government to act. 2023 should be the year where we begin to turn the corner for nature.
Dan Paris, Advocacy Manager at LINK
Image: Simon Jones
This blog is part of the LINK Thinks COP15 series. Click here to read the series of blogs by LINK staff, members and Honorary Fellows who will be highlighting the importance of targeted action in protecting and restoring our precious nature over the course of the conference.