The world must tackle the twin crisis of climate change and biodiversity loss together, two assembled UN expert groups said Thursday, warning against measures to combat global warming that are undermining the nature.
During the first-ever collaboration between the United Nations intergovernmental groups on climate and nature loss, scientists said that while the two threats reinforce each other, they have historically been treated as if they were independent of each other. .
A peer-reviewed workshop report, based on virtual discussions between experts from the IPBES biodiversity and IPCC climate panels, warned that a number of planned global warming interventions would have an impact. negative impact on nature.
These include planting bioenergy crops over large areas, which are detrimental to ecosystems.
They also cautioned against planting trees to suck carbon pollution from ecosystems that have not been historically forested, often harming biodiversity and food production.
The panel called for an end to the loss and degradation of carbon-rich and species-rich ecosystems on land and oceans.
Subsidies supporting activities harmful to nature – such as deforestation, over-fertilization and overfishing – must stop, the experts concluded.
At the same time, they stressed the need to change individual consumption habits.
Restoring ecosystems was one of the cheapest and fastest climate interventions available, and could also provide much-needed additional habitat for plants and animals, the researchers said.
On its own, better management of cropland and grazing systems could save three to six billion tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per year.
“Climate change and biodiversity loss combine to threaten society – often amplifying and accelerating,” said Hoesung Lee, Chairman of the IPCC.
Lee said Thursday’s report was an “important step” in the collaboration between climate-focused and biodiversity-focused science fields.
Alexandre Antonelli, scientific director of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Great Britain, said the collaboration between the IPCC and IPBES was “long overdue”.
“While climate change and biodiversity loss are invisible threats to our future, the good news is that we can tackle both with the right measures – those that are based on solid science,” said Antonelli, who was not involved in the report.
IPBES President Ana Maria Hernandez Salgar stressed that solutions such as preserving or restoring nature would only work in tackling climate change and biodiversity loss if accompanied by drastic reductions in resources. human-made emissions.
“Transformative change in all parts of society and our economy is needed to stabilize our climate, stop the loss of biodiversity and chart the course towards the sustainable future we want,” she said.
“This will force us to deal with the two crises together, in a complementary way. “
© 2021 AFP