Dr. Brendan Mackey, Wild9

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Dr. Brendan Mackey, Wild9

  1. 1. The Nature of Climate Change – time to reunite the UNFCCC and CBD <ul><li>Prof Brendan Mackey </li></ul><ul><li>The Fenner School of Environment and Society </li></ul><ul><li>Australian National University </li></ul><ul><li>(& IUCN Council member) </li></ul>
  2. 2. Life is a planetary force! Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (1924) “The Biosphere” Arthur Tansley (1935) The “ Ecosystem” concept James E Lovelock “Gaia Theory” (1979) James Hutton THEORY of the EARTH Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, Vol 1, 1788
  3. 3. Earth is more than a complex physical system
  4. 4. Because of life, Earth is a complex adaptive system, with biotic feedbacks, non-linear responses, and surprises We are part of a co-evolving Earth system Co-evolution of life and Earth’s environmental chemistry is the reality
  5. 5. Global carbon cycle
  6. 6. Current distribution & condition of forests … plus wetlands, peatlands, mangroves, seasgrass
  7. 7. How much carbon is stored in natural forests? Sources Keith, H., Mackey B. and Lindenmayer B 92009) Re-evaluation of forest biomass carbon stocks and lessons from the world’s most carbon-dense forests. www.pnas.orgcgidoi10.1073pnas.0901970106 In sum~2.400 Gt C in terrestrial ecosystems; living biomass + dead biomass + soil; ~45% in forests
  8. 8. Key characteristics of ecosystems and carbon 1. The longevity of natural ecosystem carbon stocks In considering carbon accounting and differences between ecosystems or land use types, it is important to distinguish between standing stocks of carbon (pools, stocks) and sequestration rates (fluxes, usually calculated on an annual basis). Calculation of sequestration in terms of potential for GHG mitigation should also include longevity of the carbon stock. Source: D. Lindenmayer
  9. 9. Key characteristics of ecosystems and carbon 2. The spatial and time scales over which natural ecosystems operate. When carbon accounting in natural ecosystems it is important to look at the ecosystem on a landscape-wide basis and over time periods that capture the natural dynamics – decades to centuries. These are the scales that matter when it comes to keeping enough carbon out of the atmosphere for long enough to make a difference to global warming
  10. 10. Key characteristics of ecosystems and carbon 3.Biodiversity distinguishes the carbon dynamics of natural ecosystems Resilience Adaptive capacity <ul><li>Levels: </li></ul><ul><li>Genetic </li></ul><ul><li>Species </li></ul><ul><li>Communities </li></ul><ul><li>Functional </li></ul><ul><li>Scales: </li></ul><ul><li>Site </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape </li></ul><ul><li>Bioregional </li></ul><ul><li>Biome </li></ul>Larger, longer lived more stable and reliable carbon stock compared with industrial production and plantation forests
  11. 11. Land use impacts Central Queensland Deforestation in Central Queensland, Australia Deforestation creates a ‘non-forfeitable’ carbon debt which takes centuries to millennia to repay…
  12. 12. Copenhagen Agreement Central Queensland Climate change treat negotiations are ‘biodiversity blind’ and prospects for perverse outcomes for both mitigation and biodiversity conservation are unprecedented We need strong, legally binding linkages between the two conventions – the UNFCCC and CBD – to ensure respective policies and measures meet both treaties’ objectives and work towards what is really the same goal – ensuring the ecological integrity of the biosphere and associated life support systems
  13. 13. Principles for guiding integration of UNFCCC & CBD Central Queensland <ul><li>Harmonisation of goals, policies and measures through cooperation not competition, through synergies not tradeoffs, through scientific evidence not convenience </li></ul>2. Biodiversity is pre-requisite and a core benefit, not an optional co-benefit 3. All ecosystems are equally important to mitigation and adaptation irrespective of the GDP of host country 4. Mitigation strategies follow this priority order: (a) avoid emissions by protecting primary forest; (b) end carbon depleting land use activities in natural forests and promote their ecological restoration; (c) where forests are subject to production logging minimise the carbon and biodiversity footprint; (d) direct plantation forests to previously cleared and degraded landscapes

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