China must lead by example to make the 2022 biodiversity talks succeed

KUNMING, CHINA - SEPTEMBER 30: A sign reading 'COP15' is set outside the Dianchi International Convention and Exhibition Center to welcome the upcoming 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (COP15) on September 30, 2021 in Kunming, Yunnan Province of China. (Photo by Yang Zheng/VCG via Getty Images)

Yang Zheng/VCG via Getty Images

WHEN it comes to selecting venues for crunch talks on the future of the planet, the United Nations does a nice – if possibly unintentional – line in irony. Much was made of last year’s decision to hold the COP26 climate talks in the UK, which as the cradle of the industrial revolution is arguably also the birthplace of climate change. There are similar, more recent, historical ironies in the choice of Kunming, China, for negotiations of global biodiversity targets. Kunming is the capital of Yunnan province, the most likely evolutionary home of SARS-CoV-2, a virus that has been described …