Why Do Biodiversity Negotiators Get Things Wrong?

Why Do Biodiversity Negotiators Get Things Wrong?

Activists hoped Egypt’s COP27 would bring a focus on Africa. They were disappointed, but not surprised.

At COP28 in Poland last year, they took part in a panel on climate change in Africa, hoping the meeting would provide a forum for discussing the continent. What they didn’t anticipate was that Poland would be unable to host the event due to low turnout.

Organizers say that the COP was poorly planned, the event was held on a rainy day, and the venue was inadequate. “It was all a waste of everybody’s time,” said one activist from the Cop26 delegation of the World Wide Fund for Nature.

In addition to the panel, the organizers put on an ice skating rink that was poorly managed. And just before the panel was to begin, the COP was abruptly cancelled.

Why do most climate negotiations fail to find support? Climate change is a complex problem. So it’s no surprise that those in charge of climate negotiations in the United States often get things wrong.

One way they do so is by getting themselves and their allies into a position where they can argue why they’re right (even when they’re wrong) to justify the need for a solution.

The same holds true in the realm of biodiversity.

A lot of people think global warming is a solved problem. They assume that there no longer will be anyone to argue why they’re wrong. The reality is, scientists are working on a solution (it’s called the Anthropocene) but it’s a hard problem to convince people of.

It’s much easier to tell people what they’ve already been doing is wrong.

This explains why biodiversity negotiators so often take us for fools: They know the problem isn’t solved. They know that there will always be someone saying they were wrong. They know that if they don’t put forward an agreed solution soon, they risk losing any chance they might have of getting things implemented.

There’s more to the story than the simple fact that the status quo is a bad solution to a problem that’s already solved.

It’s because we’ve been telling ourselves (and each other) that there’s nothing to worry about since we’ve been living in an age of cheap energy.

Now that we’re seeing the consequences

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