UN Reminds Not to Ignore Protection of Species while Fighting Climate Change

According to UN scientists, in order to rescue the planet, the world must address both the climate change and species loss issues simultaneously, taking efforts to address both rather than just one.

Separate United Nations scientific agencies released a combined report on climate change and biodiversity loss on Thursday, finding that there are ways to address the two global issues at the same time, but that some fixed and limited climate-change solutions could hasten the extinction of plants and animals.

Expansion of bioenergy crops like corn, or efforts to pull carbon dioxide from the air and bury it, for example, could consume so much land — twice the size of India — that the impact on biodiversity would be “fairly catastrophic,” according to co-author and biologist Almut Arneth of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

According to co-author Pamela McElwee, a human ecologist at Rutgers University, policy responses to climate change and biodiversity loss have long been siloed, with various government agencies accountable for each. According to scientists, the issues exacerbate one other, are interconnected, and ultimately harm people.

The natural shifting climate of the Earth affected the evolution of life, including humans, but once people in the industrialized world began spewing fossil fuels into the atmosphere, it caused a chain reaction that has multiple serious consequences.

While certain climate solutions may cause species extinction, experts claim that efforts to reduce extinctions do not have a significant impact on the climate. The majority of measures done to safeguard biodiversity will also help reduce climate change, according to Yunne Shin, director of research at the French National Research Institute. While she praised the increased interest in nature-based solutions, she said that conservation measures must be complemented by clear carbon cutbacks.

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