Report finds that a sustainable global future for people and nature is achievable if action is taken

“This report underscores the fact that biodiversity loss and climate change are inextricably linked,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “It is just one more reason that the Biden administration’s commitment to 30x30 – the goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 – and undoing the Trump administration’s destructive rewrite of Endangered Species Act regulations is critical. The administration’s actions are important steps to address the growing biodiversity and climate change crises as we move forward.”

Washington, DC

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have released new peer-reviewed findings that while the biodiversity and climate crises have traditionally been focused on separately, they are closely intertwined and actively working to address them together offers numerous synergies and benefits to society. 

Understanding this important distinction is necessary because the adaptive capacity of most ecosystems will be exceeded if anthropogenic-caused climate change is left unchecked, especially with other threats to biodiversity and ecosystem services. Even with significant emission reductions the report highlights that ecosystems will be severely challenged. 

“This report underscores the fact that biodiversity loss and climate change are inextricably linked,” said Jamie Rappaport Clark, president and CEO of Defenders of Wildlife. “It is just one more reason that the Biden administration’s commitment to 30x30 – the goal of conserving at least 30% of U.S. lands and waters by 2030 – and undoing the Trump administration’s destructive rewrite of Endangered Species Act regulations is critical. The administration’s actions are important steps to address the growing biodiversity and climate change crises as we move forward.”

Scientists estimate that 50% of both lands and ocean surface areas needs to be conserved by 2050 and 30% by 2030, which is a key milestone for this decade, in order to meet our goals of a habitable climate, self-sustaining biodiversity and quality of life. 

The report also noted additional steps that need to be taken to tackle the crisis head on. 

Ways in which YOU can help prevent climate change include: 
•    reducing consumption and shifting to more sustainable diets. 
•    using products made from more sustainable natural resources. 
•    reducing food waste post-harvest.

“Every little thing counts,” said Clark, “This is a global issue and it is going to take global efforts to overcome. But the report makes clear that you can start with actions in your home.”

Other actions  needed to prevent climate change at large scale according to the report include stopping the loss of carbon and species-rich ecosystems and working to restore damaged ones, increasing sustainable agriculture and forestry practices and enhancing current and future conservation actions by prioritizing climate change adaptation and innovation. Eliminating subsidies that support local and national economic activities that harm biodiversity and the climate through deforestation, over-fertilization and overfishing will also be important. 

The report advises AVOIDING the following:
•    Planting bioenergy crops in monocultures over large areas of land. 
•    Planting trees in areas that have not historically been forested. 
•    Planting trees in monocultures.
•    Increasing irrigation capacity such as through dam building. 
•    Focusing too narrowly on climate change mitigation, such as concentrating solely on renewable energies that may generate surges in mining and increase land use. 

“It is essential that we all work together to do everything possible to prevent the accelerating extinction of species.,” Clark said. “Our scientists, policy experts, advocates and lawyers are working in the field, at every level of government and in the courtrooms to implement the changes necessary to ensure species can survive and thrive in these challenging times. This includes everything from carrying out research to advance ‘30x30,’ to advocating for strong landscape conservation actions, to protecting the Endangered Species Act and educating and activating a broader constituency for conservation. Reports like this one are important for better understanding the challenges ahead and finding ways to most efficiently and effectively combat biodiversity and climate change loss.”
 

Defenders of Wildlife is dedicated to the protection of all native animals and plants in their natural communities. With nearly 2.2 million members and activists, Defenders of Wildlife is a leading advocate for innovative solutions to safeguard our wildlife heritage for generations to come. For more information, visit defenders.org/newsroom and follow us on Twitter @Defenders.

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Hawk Hammer
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hhammer@defenders.org

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