New Intergovernmental Panel report demands comprehensive commitments to deal with crisis in the natural world.
A Global Assessment of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services was released overnight by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). It demonstrates that we are living in a crisis of the natural world – with one million species at risk of imminent extinction globally – and the findings demand urgent political action says the National Parks Association of NSW (NPA).
It is clear that the crisis in the natural world is every bit as pressing as the climate crisis, and both must be addressed if we are to avoid extinctions, land degradation, impacts on food supply and the loss of the huge benefits that nature provides to human societies and health.
The dual climate and biodiversity crises are closely linked, and it is this link that offers governments a clear pathway forward says Dr Oisín Sweeney, Senior Ecologist with NPA.
“There is growing international recognition that protecting intact ecosystems and restoring degraded ones – like forests, woodlands, wetlands, grasslands, peatlands, seagrasses and mangroves – can maximise the amount of carbon sucked out of the atmosphere and locked away.
“Of course, by restoring ecosystems, we also make them better able to support larger populations of wildlife, thereby decreasing extinction risk.
“The restoration of ecosystems therefore offers us a win-win on protecting nature while staving off the worst impacts of global warming.
“Researchers have shown that the scale of this benefit is potentially enormous: we can achieve almost 40% of the carbon reductions needed by 2030 to meet the Paris targets to hold warming below two degrees via restoring ecosystems.
“Up to now, we have tended to view the climate and nature issues as separate.
“Politicians must realise, and realise fast, that the nature and climate crises are inextricably linked. We need politicians with the vision and courage to grasp the nettle and change Australia from laggard to leader on nature and climate.”
Oisín Sweeney | 9299 0000
Griscom et. al. 2017. Natural climate solutions. PNAS 114. https://www.pnas.org/content/pnas/114/44/11645.full.pdf. The supplementary materials from this paper show that reforestation in Australia could draw down 386 million tonnes per year, while ending logging could draw down 60 million tonnes. Improving grazing could deliver almost 9 million tonnes per year.