Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change


© Credit: the ocean agency / xl catlin seaview survey. The Maldives

Recent assessment reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have highlighted the risks to humanity arising from the unsustainable use of natural resources. Thus far, land, freshwater and ocean exploitation have been the chief causes of biodiversity loss. Climate change is projected to be a rapidly increasing additional driver for biodiversity loss. Since climate change and biodiversity loss impact human societies everywhere, bold solutions are required that integrate environmental and societal objectives. As yet, most existing international biodiversity targets have overlooked climate change impacts. At the same time, climate-change mitigation measures themselves may harm biodiversity directly. The Convention on Biological Diversity´s post-2020 framework offers the important opportunity to address the interactions between climate change and biodiversity and revise biodiversity targets accordingly, by better aligning these with the UNFCCC Paris agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. We identify the considerable number of existing and proposed post-2020 biodiversity targets that risk being severely compromised due to climate change, even if other barriers to their achievement were removed.

 

The analysis suggests that the next set of biodiversity targets explicitly address climate change related risks, since many aspirational goals will not be feasible under even the lower end projections for future warming. Adopting more flexible and dynamic approaches to conservation, rather than static goals, would allow to respond flexibly to changes in habitats, genetic resources, species composition and ecosystem functioning, and leverage biodiversity’s capacity to contribute to climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

The analysis suggests that the next set of biodiversity targets explicitly address climate change related risks, since many aspirational goals will not be feasible under even the lower end projections for future warming. This can be seen for example with corals, which are among the most threatened ecosystems on earth, mostly because of global warming, climate changes and local pressures. Even if the world acts quickly and limits global warming to 1.5ºC, this would still make corals decline by a further 70-90%. A 2ºC warming would make corals decline by 99%. The Post 2020 biodiversity targets should better integrate future hardly-avoidable climate change impacts, as well as potential adaptation actions, in order to better conserve global biodiversity.

 

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Arneth, A., Shin, Y.J., Leadley, P., Rondinini, C., Bukvareva, E., Kolb, M., Midgley, G.F., Oberdorff, T., Palomo, I., Saito, O. 2020. Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change.

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Financiado por el Ministerio de Ciencia Innovación y Universidades y la Agencia Estatal de Investigación,
a través de la Convocatoria: Maria de Maeztu 2017 (BOE 21/10/2017) siendo la referencia de nuestro expediente: MDM-2017-0714

©2008 BC3 Basque Centre for Climate Change. Excelencia María de Maeztu.


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