It’s not just about climate

Ahmed Djoghlaf, head of the UN biodiversity convention cautions that there are other issues that need to be considered apart from Climate Change and there are benefits in dealing all of them together.

This growing recognition of the seriousness of climate change is entirely to be welcomed, and in fact is long overdue.

It should not, however, eclipse another equally pressing crisis humanity has brought upon itself: the biggest reduction in the variety of life on Earth since the demise of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago.

My main argument, however, is one of hope: by taking determined action to ease the pressures on the planet’s ecosystems, we have it within our power to reduce and even eliminate some of the worst threats posed by a warmer and less stable climate.

Protecting tropical forests and their enormous diversity of life not only helps to reduce carbon emissions, but also conserves vital water resources that will become increasingly precious due to climate change.

As the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment pointed out in 2005, reduction of biodiversity implies a threat to services as basic as the provision of food, fibre, medicines and fresh water, the pollination of crops and protection from flooding – and with the rural poor most directly dependent on these services, human development goals are also placed in jeopardy.

Even though more problems may seem daunting it is important to realise that we need to solve all of them. As in Climate Change, it brings about opportunities and threats.

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