Canada’s new climate adaptation plan recognizes need to halt ecosystem loss, but new new action and funding to protect nature are lacking
November 24, 2020 – On the eve of hosting a major international biodiversity conference (COP15), the Government of Canada has clearly recognized that Canadians can only survive dramatic climate change if we – and other countries – halt the human-caused destruction and degradation of nature.
Canada’s first National Adaptation Strategy (NAS), released today, recognizes that climate change, on top of pollution and habitat loss, is “putting natural ecosystems at even greater risk.”
The new Strategy states that “the degradation and loss of ecosystems are threatening nature’s ability to provide us with our basic needs”, including food, clean water, flood control and carbon sequestration, and that “replacing the services that ecosystems provide will be…in many cases impossible.”
While the NAS and accompanying Action Plan make significant new investments in disaster mitigation and community-based adaptation initiatives, new actions and investments to stop the degradation and loss of forests, wetlands, grasslands and coastal areas are currently lacking.
“The recognition that climate adaptation is impossible without ecosystem protection is an important step. Now Canada needs to release, and invest in, a concrete action plan to achieve its commitment to halt and reverse nature loss by 2030,” said Michael Polanyi, Policy and Campaign Manager at Nature Canada and a member of the NAS thriving natural environment advisory table. “By advancing action to halt nature loss at home, Canada can help leverage global ambition and a new global biodiversity agreement at the upcoming NatureCOP in Montreal (COP15).”
“As the world comes to Canada to address the biodiversity crisis, we need clear recognition of the impact of climate change on non-human species”, said Graham Saul Executive DIrector of Nature Canada. “We’ll be watching for action and investment to stop species collapse at COP15, both through Canada’s National Adaptation Strategy and other policy avenues.”
Canadians strongly support the greater protection of wildlife and ecosystems. An Ekos poll last spring found that over 80% of Canadians want stronger protection of forests, and a recent Nanos poll found that over 80% of respondents support further government commitments to protecting land and sea areas in Canada. In July, over 90 non-governmental organizations joined Nature Canada in calling on Canada to put the protection of nature at the centre of its adaptation plan.
Nature Canada recognizes and welcomes the NAS commitment to uphold the rights of Indigenous peoples to own, use and conserve the environment on their lands, and its intention to advance environmental justice by prioritizing populations and communities at greater risk of climate change impacts.
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