Mass extinctions of plants and animals unavoidable without halting climate crisis, warns head of Natural England

Nature-based solutions are part and parcel of tackling the twin threats of climate and biodiversity collapse, Tony Juniper tells Harry Cockburn

Saturday 30 October 2021 19:40 BST
<p>‘There’s a huge sense of awareness to the danger at hand,’ says Natural England’s Tony Juniper </p>

‘There’s a huge sense of awareness to the danger at hand,’ says Natural England’s Tony Juniper

The key focus at the Cop26 climate summit will be on slashing the fossil fuel dependency poisoning our atmosphere and heating up the planet, but it is not just cutting emissions that will get us to net zero by 2050, it is also the restoration of the natural world.

Forests, soils and ocean ecosystems are far more adept at absorbing and sequestering carbon than any carbon capture and storage technology yet in existence, so conservationists are hoping that these “nature-based solutions” to the climate crisis will be a key area of focus at the summit.

One person who is highly invested in the recognition and utility of the role of the natural world in balancing out humanity’s excesses is Tony Juniper – the current chair of Natural England, which advises the government on nature restoration. He was previously executive director of Friends of the Earth in the UK, worked for the WWF, once stood for election for the Green Party and is a fellow at the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Sustainability Leadership.

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