Quantcast

140 International Organizations Call for End to Biodiversity Offsetting Plans

At the opening of the World Forum on Natural Capital in Edinburgh, Scotland yesterday, 140 organizations from all over the world released a statement to say "No" to biodiversity offsetting. The statement was launched in a counter forum on Natural Commons taking place in Edinburgh at the same time.

In a released statement, 140 international organizations called for end to biodiversity offsetting plans which would give developers and industry a 'license to trash nature."
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Biodiversity offsetting is the theory that you can destroy nature in one place, as long as you replace it elsewhere to ensure “no net biodiversity loss.” Not only has this proven unworkable, it puts pressure on community livelihoods.

“Offsetting treats nature such as forests or rivers as if it were an exchangeable item you buy in the supermarket," said Hannah Mowat from FERN, explaining why offsetting has had such poor results so far. 

"Destroying one forest or river with a promise of protecting another fails to recognize that they are part of a wider ecosystem and intrinsic to human and cultural landscapes," Mowat continued. "Destruction of complex and site specific biodiversity cannot be offset. It is time to be clear that offsetting will not tackle biodiversity loss but may impoverish communities.” 

The statement raises concern that offsetting could erode the power of environmental laws to restrict damaging activities. In the UK, offsetting is being used as an excuse to speed up planning laws and remove "green tape." The EU is also considering new laws that could question the strength of the Nature Directives. This is also the case in a number of countries in the global South, such as Brazil, where it is a license to trash nature.

“In Brazil, the government is reforming public policies to allow companies to ‘offset’ their impact rather than preventing damage in the first place," said Lúcia Ortiz from Friends of the Earth Brazil. "The Brazilian development bank, BNDES, provides grants to states to create subnational laws for carbon and biodiversity offsets. Though this is being challenged by the public attorney, these policies are causing dramatic violations of Indigenous Peoples’ rights and the rights of communities dependent on natural resources” 

"Nature is a common good that we all share rights to and have responsibility over," said Nick Dearden, director of the World Development Movement and co-organizer of the Forum on Natural Commons.

"It should be managed democratically by a commons-centered approach and not by a market based approach that takes power away from the people and gives more resources to those who can pay the most," continued Dearden. "Many organizations, scientists and people have come together through this statement to expose that the motive is profit, not conservation." 

Climate justice activists currently at the climate negotiations in Warsaw are exposing that market based mechanisms such as carbon trading and forest carbon markets are proven failures and should not be extended to areas such as biodiversity. Activists and organizations are calling on governments to bring these failed approaches to an end and concentrate on ways to reduce carbon emissions and biodiversity loss at home.

Visit EcoWatch’s BIODIVERSITY page for more related news on this topic.

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Gemasolar 15 MW Parabolic Power Plant in Spain / Greenpeace

Quitting Coal: New Global Survey Names the Companies, Cities and Countries

More than a quarter of the 1,675 companies that owned or developed coal-fired power capacity since 2010 have entirely left the coal power business, according to new research from CoalSwarm and Greenpeace. This represents nearly 370 large coal-fired power plants—enough to power around six United Kingdoms—and equivalent to nearly half a trillion dollars in assets retired or not developed.

While many generating companies go through this rapid makeover, the research also shows that a total of 23 countries, states and cities will have either phased out coal-fired power plants or set a timeline to do so by 2030.

Keep reading... Show less
Roderick Eime / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

New Evidence Suggests Ancient Egypt Was Brought Down By Volcanoes and Climate Change

Ancient Egypt is often described as an exotic place—pyramids, hieroglyphics, lavishly worshipped kings and queens.

But in many ways, it has a lot of parallels to modern life. It was an economically diverse, culturally vibrant and unequal place.

The millenniums-old society also struggled with a phenomenon that people today know all too well: climate change. And it may have ultimately led to the civilization's demise, according to a new paper by a team of researchers at Yale University.

The team of researchers studied the tail-end of ancient Egypt during the Ptolemaic dynasty between 305-30 BCE.

Keep reading... Show less
Portuguese youth plaintiffs, from left to right: Simão and Leonor; Cláudia, Martim and Mariana; André and Sofia. Global Legal Action Network

Kids Harmed by Portugal Fires Reach Key Crowdfunding Goal for Climate Lawsuit

As Portugal reels from its worst wildfires on record, seven Portuguese children have met an important crowdfunding goal for their major climate lawsuit against 47 European nations.

More than £20,000 ($26,400) was pledged by 589 people, allowing the Global Legal Action Network (GLAN)—the nonprofit coordinating the lawsuit—to identify and compile evidence to present to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France. GLAN now has a new stretch target of £100,000.

Keep reading... Show less
Flying insects such as bees are important pollinators. Flickr / M I T C H Ǝ L L

German Nature Reserves Have Lost More Than 75% of Flying Insects

A new study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE adds more evidence that insect populations around the globe are in perilous decline.

For the study, researchers from Radboud University in the Netherlands, alongside their German and English colleagues, measured the biomass of trapped flying insects at 63 nature preserves in Germany since 1989. They were shocked to discover that the total biomass decreased dramatically over the 27 years of the study, with a seasonal decline of 76 percent and mid-summer decline of 82 percent, when insect numbers tend to peak.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Politics

Pushing Toxic Chemicals and Climate Denial: The Dark Money-Funded Independent Women’s Forum

By Stacy Malkan

The Independent Women's Forum is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has taken money from tobacco and oil companies, partners with Monsanto, defends toxic chemicals in food and consumer products, denies climate science and argues against laws that would curb the power of corporations.

IWF began in 1991 as an effort to defend now Supreme Court Justice (and former Monsanto attorney) Clarence Thomas as he faced sexual harassment charges. The group now says it seeks to "improve the lives of Americans by increasing the number of women who value free markets and personal liberty."

Keep reading... Show less
Mladen Kostic / iStock

Toxic Toys? After Nine Years, a Ban on Harmful Chemicals Becomes Official

Phthalates are a particularly harmful type of chemical, used, among a range of other ways, to soften plastic in children's toys and products like pacifiers and teething rings. In response to mounting concern about the serious health impacts of phthalates—most notably, interference with hormone production and reproductive development in young children—Congress voted overwhelmingly in 2008 to outlaw the use of a few phthalates in these products and ordered the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to assess the use of other types of the chemical in these products. After much delay, the CPSC voted 3–2 Wednesday to ban five additional types of phthalates in kids' toys and childcare products.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Wikipedia

Oil Spills Pose Dire Threats to Marine Life

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says oil pipelines have no place in BC's Great Bear Rainforest. Opponents of the approved Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion to the West Coast and the cancelled Energy East pipeline to the East Coast argue pipelines and tankers don't belong in any coastal areas. Research led by the Raincoast Conservation Foundation confirms the threat to marine mammals in BC waters from a seven-fold increase in tanker traffic is considerable.

After examining potential impacts of a 15,000-cubic-meter oil spill in BC waters on 21 marine mammals, researchers concluded most individuals would be at risk and a few local populations wouldn't survive. Baleen whales, for example, are highly susceptible to ingesting oil because they breathe through blowholes, filter and eat food from the ocean surface and rely on invertebrate prey. Oil residue can stick to the baleen, restricting the amount of food they consume.

Keep reading... Show less
Shutterstock

September 2017: Earth's 4th Warmest September on Record

By Dr. Jeff Masters

September 2017 was the planet's fourth warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) and NASA this week. The only warmer Septembers came during 2015, 2016 and 2014. Minor differences can occur between the NASA and NOAA rankings because of their different techniques for analyzing data-sparse regions such as the Arctic.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

Get EcoWatch in your inbox