N-Dimensions of nature

9 November 2023

Written by: Geoffroy Dufay, , geoffroy.dufay@axaclimate.com

Why is it so complicated to identify a single nature metric?

When it comes to assessing our relationship with the climate, a company or a financial institution can rely on one simple and trustworthy metric: carbon emissions. In order to define strategies, our society is studying the evolution of physical and climate transition related risks by designing multiple climate modelling scenarios based on different levels of carbon emissions. In a nutshell, we can study climate change topics through looking at carbon emissions.

However, until now, such a metric has not been identified to synthesise how a company or financial institution is interacting with nature. And that is because of nature’s inherent complexity.

However, several attempts have been made : the potentially disappeared fraction of species (PDF) or the mean species abundance (MSA) have tried to calculate within a single metric the aggregate impacts one may have on nature. However, nature metrics do not really benefit from having the same consensus as carbon emissions, as although they provide useful insights, they do not take into consideration all of nature’s dimensions.

Understanding the multitude of dimensions that form the concept of nature is not an easy task.

A first way of understanding nature is to distinguish between two main material dimensions: the living and the inert, along with their connections.

The sublevels and ramifications of these dimensions also add some complexity in defining a single metric.

Moreover, the interactions between all these dimensions and concepts are very difficult to understand and estimate, adding another layer of complexity in the definition of a unique metric.

Moreover, not only do we need to consider the material aspect of nature, it is important to recognise that nature also has an immaterial aspect, which is made up of the intelligent and sensory dimensions that are generated by the environment.

With the following publication, we will try to walk you through the N-dimensions nature, focusing on its material aspect, to try to help you grasp its beauty and complexity.

To do that, we will navigate through the living dimension by exploring the genetic level, the species level, and the ecosystem level. Then we will explore the inert dimension and its two main factors: edaphic and climatic factors.

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TNFD An illustrated guide to the future of nature reporting
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For more information, contact Geoffroy Dufay, , geoffroy.dufay@axaclimate.com

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