‘We’ll get it done. Come hell, high water or Covid’: Can 2022 be a super year for nature?

Biodiversity talks in Kunming are likely to be delayed again, but the world urgently needs a Paris-style agreement for nature

UN sets out Paris-type plan to cut extinctions by factor of 10Read more in our series Biodiversity: what happened next?

It was supposed to be a “super year for nature”: 2020 was going to be “a major opportunity to bring nature back from the brink”. But then the coronavirus pandemic set in and long-held plans to tackle the environmental crisis, kickstarted at Davos in January, where the financial elite underscored the risks of global heating and biodiversity loss to human civilisation, never happened. The biggest biodiversity summit in a decade, Cop15 in Kunming, China, where world leaders were expected to strike a deal to halt and reverse the destruction of ecosystems by reaching a Paris-style agreement for nature was postponed until 2021. The Cop26 climate summit was also postponed for a year.

As we enter 2022, there has still not been a super year for nature. Substantive negotiations for the biodiversity Cop15 meeting in China, the little sister to the climate convention, are likely to be delayed a fourth time as a result of the Omicron variant. Preparatory talks planned for January 2022 in Geneva have been pushed back – again – until March in a process that is feeling increasingly cursed, despite the best efforts of organisers.

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