Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss Must Be Tackled Together, Not Separately – Inside Climate News #ClimateCrisis Demand #ClimateAction #SDG13 #SDGs #SDGs #GlobalGoals for a sustainable future #TellTheTruth

New Report: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss Must Be Tackled Together, Not Separately – Inside Climate News

By

The two leading science groups studying ecosystems and climate urged protection of carbon-rich habitats and warned against solutions to warming that lower species diversity.

Slowing global warming and stemming the loss of biodiversity have been viewed as independent challenges for years.

But a new landmark report concludes that climate change and the rapid decline of natural ecosystems are intertwined crises that should be tackled together if international efforts to address either are to succeed.

The report, released Thursday, was written by 50 of the world’s leading experts on biodiversity and climate change, representing two major international scientific groups collaborating for the first time: the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The findings emerged from a workshop held in December and months of subsequent research, and come as leaders gear up for two major upcoming United Nations conferences, one focusing on biodiversity and the other on climate change.

Until now, the authors of the report said, global collaborative efforts to address climate change, through platforms including the IPCC and the Paris climate agreement, have operated on a different track from efforts to address biodiversity, carried out through the UN Convention on Biological Diversity and other international organizations. 

“For far too long we’ve tended to see climate and biodiversity as separate issues, so our policy responses have been very siloed,” said Pamela McElwee, one of the report’s authors and an associate professor in the Department of Human Ecology at Rutgers University. “Climate has simply gotten more attention.”

Some key efforts can contribute to both the preservation of biodiversity and controlling global warming, especially stopping deforestation in the tropics, but also halting the degradation of other carbon-rich ecosystems, including mangroves, peatlands, savannahs and wetlands. The authors say that ramping up sustainable agriculture and forestry, while cutting subsidies to destructive industries, will also be critical.

In 2017, the heat waves, extreme wild fires, and flooding
around the world confirmed beyond doubt that climate
disruption is now a full-blown emergency.

We have entered Churchill’s “period of consequences”, yet
governments have simply watched the disasters magnify,
while rushing ahead with new pipelines and annual trillions in
fossil fuel subsidies.

Governments simply cannot say they did not know. The
events we are seeing today have been consistently forecast
ever since the First Assessment by the Intergovernmental
Panel on Climate Change, which was signed by all
governments back in 1990, which The Lancet has described
as the best research project ever designed.

Unprecedented Crime first lays out the culpability of
governmental, political and religious bodies, corporations,
and the media through their failure to report or act on the
climate emergency. No emergency response has even been
contemplated by wealthy high-emitting national governments.
Extreme weather reporting never even hints at the need to
address climate change.

It then reports how independently of governments, scores of
proven zero-carbon game changers have been coming online
all over the world. These exciting technologies, described in
the book, are now able to power both household electricity
and energy-dense heavy industry.

We already have the technical solutions to the CO2 problem.
With these solutions we can act in time to reduce greenhouse
gas emissions to near-zero within 20 years.

These willful crimes against life itself by negligent
governments, oblivious media and an insouciant civil society
are crimes that everyday citizens can nonetheless readily
grasp – and then take to the streets and to the courts to
protest on behalf of their children and grand-children.

This thoroughly researched and highly-documented book will
show them how.

Unprecedented Crime

“We are seeing multiple impacts of climate change on all continents and in all ocean regions. These increasingly add to the enormous human pressure on biodiversity,” said Hans-Otto Pörtner, a climatologist and previous IPCC author who co-chaired the steering committee of the collaborative workshop. “So far conservation efforts have not been sufficient. Human society depends on the services that nature provides, but climate change has caused loss in natural resources, especially those that are overused.”

Pörtner also pointed out that pandemics are linked to biodiversity loss because zoonotic diseases emerge from species that thrive when biodiversity declines. “Climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening human well being as well as society. They’re closely interwoven and share common drivers through human activity,” he said. “They’re reinforcing each other.”

The authors warned that some efforts to address the climate crisis could be detrimental to biodiversity, and they urged policy makers, governments and industries to avoid solutions that could effectively backfire. These include planting monocultural, non-native trees or vast tracts of land with crops for bioenergy.

“There are a lot of things being done for climate change, especially around adaptation, and many of them can be negative for biodiversity,” said Paul Leadley, a professor of ecology with the University of Paris Sud-France. “There’s a real risk that biodiversity can die from a thousand cuts.”

Almut Arneth, one of the authors and a modeling expert at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, said that one of those adaptive efforts, planting bioenergy crops, could eventually require a land area twice the size of India. “On the other hand, we’re using much more than 50 percent [of the world’s land] for food and timber production,” Arneth said. “So as you can imagine planting those large bioenergy crops will put enormous pressure on existing natural land, which would be catastrophic for biodiversity” and for food security.

Nature-Based Solutions Are Not Enough

While the report pointed to solutions, including cutting deforestation, the authors stressed that “nature based solutions” could only go so far.

“An immediate conclusion is that maintaining biodiversity and its functions relies on phasing out emissions from the burning of fossil fuels,” Pörtner said. “Nature is offering solutions, which can be helpful if done in parallel with strong emissions reductions.”

Strong policy and action—executed quickly— will be essential to staving off the twin crises, the authors said. They intend the report to provide the current state of thinking on the issue and said they hope it prods policy makers to push for conservation efforts like President Joe Biden’s plan to conserve 30 percent of American lands. The report called for a global effort to conserve up to half the world’s ocean and lands.

“Positive outcomes are expected from substantially increasing intact and effectively protected areas,” the report said. “Global estimates of exact requirements for effectively protected and conserved areas to ensure a habitable climate, self-sustaining biodiversity and a good quality of life are not yet well established but range from 30 to 50 percent of all land and surface areas.”

— Read on insideclimatenews.org/news/11062021/biodiversity-climate-change-ipcc-forests-ocean/

Electrify Everything

Urgent Solutions for Urgent Times

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s