Calls for no more extinctions were removed from the text of the final agreement at COP15 but there are positives to come out of the Montreal conference, the Australian Conservation Foundation said.
ACF CEO Kelly O’Shanassy said Australia showed leadership in the negotiating room and commended Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek for pushing to end extinction, starting now, but ultimately it wasn’t enough to convince other countries which opted for a 2050 deadline to end extinction of known threatened species.
“Many of the world’s threatened species, including in Australia’s, are on a pathway to go extinct well before 2050,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“It is not acceptable for a framework on biodiversity to allow for extinctions to continue for another 28 years. Australia has a goal of no new extinctions – that’s a goal the world should have supported.
“Protection of 30% of land and oceans and restoration of 30% of degraded ecosystems, both by 2030, are good targets and will begin to repair humanity’s relationship with nature.
“The mission for 2030 – to ’take urgent action to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and put nature on a path to recovery’ – is a mission statement for the world.
“It will be important for Australia’s leadership at Montreal to continue at home to turn these commitments into reality,” she said.
ACF Nature and Business campaigner Nathaniel Pelle said there was a huge showing of the business and finance sector at the conference, which had a positive impact.
“The private sector is showing interest in the nature crisis – governments alone won’t fix the problems, especially when so much is caused by big business,” he said.
“The agreement means big companies, banks and investors will have to publicly disclose the damage they do to nature and be accountable for setting targets to reverse nature damage.
“Nations also agreed to reduce and ultimately eliminate harmful subsidies which will end public money going to businesses to damage nature.”