Saving nature vital to beating climate crisis, urges WWF
Conservation organisation says world on the path to irreversible change if urgent action not taken
A new report, Climate, Nature and our 1.5°C Future published today clearly points towards nature being part of the solution to the climate crisis. It outlines the urgent need for countries to work with cities and businesses towards a ‘just transition’ in the face of increasing pressures from a warming world. But strong leadership and immediate action is required to limit global warming to 1.5°C to halt climate change in its tracks.
Published by WWF, the synthesis report brings together four landmark UN reports published in the past year: the three IPCC special reports published under the 6th Assessment Cycle, and the IPBES global assessment.
The analysis shines a spotlight on the detailed picture of how nature – ecosystems and biodiversity – are being affected by the climate crisis, and how strong and healthy ecosystems enrich resilience and can help people adapt to climate impacts. It recognises the critical role ‘nature-based solutions’ play as part of the global response to the climate crisis because the necessary rapid and deep cuts to global fossil fuel emissions will not be enough.
The worldwide lack of ambition to tackle the climate and nature crises is alarming, and countries attending COP25 in Madrid must take immediate action to ensure global warming stays below 1.5°C. Deep decarbonisation as well as nature-based solutions must be part of all countries’ climate plans and there’s good reason to do so - they can aid climate change mitigation, reduce associated climate risks for vulnerable communities, and help bring about a more sustainable future for all.
Protecting, restoring and managing ecosystems and biodiversity is a sustainable way to improve resilience against climate change risks and ensure that land and oceans can continue to provide food, water and other vital resources to people for years to come.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal, leader of WWF's global climate and energy practice said:
“There is no time for debate. Only a dramatic increase in the ambition of our collective response can avert that climate crisis we are in. We need nature to be taken to a new level of political priority globally recognising the interrelationships between nature loss and climate change and the fundamental role of nature in mitigating and adapting to global warming. That is why we are calling for all governments at COP25 to increase nature-based solutions in their national climate plans.”
The report demonstrates how, by saving nature, we boost the chances of staying below 1.5°C and improve the effectiveness of adaptation while laying the foundations for lives that are happy, healthy, culturally enriched and socially connected.
Stephen Cornelius, WWF’s Chief Adviser on Climate Change said:
“The scientists have done their part. Over the past year they have amassed findings that clearly demonstrate the need for limiting global warming to 1.5°C. Our political, community and business leaders must heed their warnings about the risks of exceeding 1.5°C and the irreversible change that will happen without greater ambition to cut emissions from fossil fuels and integrate nature-based solutions.”
Dr Anne Larigauderie, IPBES Executive Secretary said: “Climate change has already impacted nature from the level of ecosystems to that of genetics – with these impacts expected to increase over the coming decades. We welcome this new WWF report as another example of the use of the findings of the IPBES Global Assessment, and another important reminder that protecting our irreplaceable natural assets and our current quality of life requires truly transformative change: fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
The report also acknowledges the opportunity coming up in 2020 with world leaders scheduled to take critical decisions on nature, climate and development. WWF and others are calling for them to secure a new deal for nature and people that brings together these related agendas and reverses nature loss by 2030.
Manuel Pulgar-Vidal continues: “Humans are currently causing an unprecedented loss of nature at the time when we need it most. Protecting and restoring nature isn’t just a moral issue: nature underpins our societies and economies and is our greatest ally in combating the climate crisis.”