Inside Climate News has published the results of a report by an authoritative global scientific panel which concluded that biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history and a million species are on the brink. According to the report, humanity faces a biodiversity crisis just as profound as the climate crisis.
The report emphasized that climate change is one of the key drivers, along with land-use change, exploding consumption, pollution and the spread of invasive species. Climate’s role in exacerbating the losses is accelerating. Therefore it is essential that we address the issues of biodiversity loss and climate change together. This means the ways we produce and use energy must be transformed.
The rising seas and increased extreme weather events of climate change have already caused widespread harm to biodiversity. Since pre-industrial times, humans have caused an estimated 1 degree Celsius of warming. The temperature rise has resulted in changes to species distribution, population dynamics and the function of ecosystems. The half-degree between 1.5°C and 2°C of global warming could be the key to survival for many ecosystems.
The transformation of the global landscape has been another driver of biodiversity loss. This incursion into natural landscapes, especially forests, has largely been driven by the need to produce more food for a global population that has doubled in the last 50 years.
Sir Robert Watson, chair of the biodiversity panel and former chair of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, said agricultural producers have to stop expanding into natural habitat, use fewer chemicals and embrace agroecology—a system of agriculture that uses a range of crops and practices, rather than the monocultural systems that have proliferated in the last 50 years.
The new report warns of potentially irreversible economic, social and environmental calamities if the whole world doesn’t change tracks by mid-century.
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