UN: Climate Change & Biodiversity Crises Actually One Big Crisis

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To address climate change without also protecting biodiversity, or vice versa, is to court failure in both fights, two UN bodies warned Thursday.

Jointly issued by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the report for the first time declares that climate change and biodiversity losses compound one another, warning the interconnectedness of the two issues means policies must simultaneously tackle both.

While most efforts to protect biodiversity also have positive impacts for climate, some climate policies can actually accelerate biodiversity loss: For example, crops grown in monoculture for biofuel, like corn, or trees planted to pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere could contribute to ecosystem collapse, threatening food and water supply. Ultimately, that means not only is it simply not possible to plant enough trees to counteract the effects of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel consumption, doing so could actually accelerate the loss of wildlife and habitats.

“Some people are out there selling this message that if we cover the whole planet with trees, that will solve the climate problem,” said Dr. Paul Leadley, one of the report authors. Dr. Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-chairman of the IPBES-IPCC steering committee said: “A clear first priority is emissions reductions, emissions reductions and emissions reductions.”

Sources: New York Times $, APBBCThe GuardianFT $, GizmodoReport

Originally published by Nexus Media.

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