Dec 19, 2022 - Energy & Environment

Nations reach landmark biodiversity treaty

Illustration of a floatation device lifesaver wrapped around a tree

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

A United Nations summit yielded a historic global deal on conservation and biodiversity that aims to protect huge swaths of lands and oceans while boosting finance to help meet the targets.

Why it matters: The deal struck in Montreal early Monday came on a parallel track to the higher-profile UN climate talks, but there's connective tissue.

  • Climate change is among the greatest threats to biodiversity. And new wilderness protection efforts could stymie some energy and mining projects.

The big picture: The deal is aimed at halting and reversing the ongoing extinction crisis. It is the most far-reaching agreement addressing biodiversity that the world has signed on to.

  • Yet here are questions as to whether it goes far enough to halt the destruction of crucial habitats, such as rainforests and ocean-protected areas, and whether it would be enforced by the nearly 200 countries that signed onto it.

Zoom in: Top lines of the deal include:

  • Ensuring that 30% of combined lands and waters are "effectively conserved" by 2030, as part of a far-reaching plan known as "30 by 30." About 17% of terrestrial and 10% of marine areas are currently protected, per AP.
  • Bringing the loss of areas of "high biodiversity importance" to "close to zero" by 2030.
  • Mobilizing at least $200 billion annually from public and private sources to implement biodiversity strategies and plans.
  • Boosting finance from developed to developing nations to at least $30 billion annually by 2030.

Yes, but: The targets are non-binding and there's no guarantee they'll be transformed into tangible steps.

Andrew Freedman contributed reporting.

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