Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation - Seeker's Thoughts

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Seeker's Thoughts

A blog for the curious and the creative.

Climate Change and Biodiversity Conservation

Climate change (CC) and biodiversity conservation (BD) are intimately interlinked; healthy ecosystems - both terrestrial and marine - act as carbon sinks while supporting human livelihoods and providing essential goods and services that help mitigate CC.

Some species are better equipped to withstand climate changes than others, depending on their generation time and ability to disperse.

Urgent Need for Global Efforts to Combat Climate Change

People everywhere are experiencing more frequent and severe extreme weather events, including heat waves, droughts, floods, and wildfires. This phenomenon is further compounded by global warming caused by human activities and emissions of planet-warming gases like carbon dioxide (CO2).

Scientists are calling on governments to take immediate steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to limit temperature rise to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, which requires deep, rapid, and sustained reductions across all sectors of the economy. If countries fail to achieve this target, its consequences for people and nature alike will be devastating. The UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns that failure will have devastating repercussions for both.

Reducing emissions doesn't need to be costly; for instance, switching from fossil fuels like coal and oil to renewable energy sources like wind and solar may create jobs in developing nations as well as deliver significant economic benefits. Furthermore, carbon pricing policies can be tailored in ways that benefit poor people while simultaneously creating equity benefits.

Protecting and restoring natural ecosystems like forests and oceans are integral parts of combatting climate change and biodiversity loss, serving as "nature-based solutions." Thus, their preservation and restoration play an integral part in combatting both.

Biodiversity is Essential to Human Health

Biodiversity is essential to human health, whether in an Amazon village or Beijing's bustling metropolis. As humanity's population surges forward, biodiversity becomes even more indispensable - providing essential ecosystem services such as fresh water, soil fertility and stability, food and medicines - and supporting livelihoods by protecting against natural disaster resilience as well as mitigating climate change impacts.

Loss of biodiversity poses many health risks to humans, such as the spread of infectious disease. A team of scientists led by Bard College biologist Felicia Keesing and Cary Institute disease ecologist Richard Ostfeld found that biodiversity loss contributes to an increase in infectious disease for many organisms - including humans - while decreasing biodiversity also diminishes organisms' abilities to adapt and survive environmental stresses.

Climate change, agriculture and land-use practices, as well as biodiversity loss due to climate change are among the many contributors to ecosystem degradation in our globalized world. By taking steps to address these causes and protect biodiversity and meet global goals for sustainable development, governments can protect biodiversity while meeting global goals for sustainable development. For instance, one study of nature's role in reducing CO2 emissions by 2030 found that natural climate solutions like conservation could account for up to 30% of CO2 reduction requirements by 2030.

Biodiversity is Good for the Economy

Millions of people rely on ecosystems and species that support them for food, water, medicine and other goods essential to everyday living. Many resource-poor communities would not exist without biodiversity providing essential livelihood opportunities.

Biodiversity is an essential source of genetic diversity, supporting new crop varieties and medicines essential for combatting climate change and improving health. Although its exact value remains hard to ascertain in monetary terms, estimates indicate it has an annual economic worth of $150 trillion.

Policymakers, economists and businesses are taking greater notice of biodiversity loss's economic ramifications, particularly through studies like TEEB (Treaty on Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity). For instance, this 2021 research showed how natural capital stocks worldwide are rapidly degrading at alarming rates, creating serious risks to economies worldwide; biodiversity loss being one of the main culprits.

Economic benefits of biodiversity conservation are an integral component of its protection. Businesses that ignore how their activities may harm biodiversity risk losing business opportunities and facing backlash from consumers, investors and employees. Conversely, companies that work with nature to enhance biodiversity can develop powerful new offerings and business models; gain access to sustainable raw materials; lower energy costs through operational synergies; as well as create operational synergies through reduced operational expenses - this explains why leading firms from retail to energy have committed themselves to using Nature-based Solutions to combat both climate change and biodiversity loss simultaneously.

Biodiversity is Good for Culture

Biodiversity is an invaluable natural asset that provides multiple natural benefits that enhance our quality of life and contributes to sustainable development, food security and the protection of health; cultural diversity; recreation; spiritual well-being and peace and security are also enhanced by biodiversity; however its rapid loss threatens humanity's most essential needs and threatens global stability.

Climate Change exacerbates the biodiversity crisis by disrupting ecosystems, species and their habitats. Its effects range from reduced productivity in agriculture to lost recreational opportunities associated with biodiversity-based recreational opportunities. Utilisation of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) as part of an overall climate solution strategy may provide one way of conserving biodiversity while simultaneously mitigating climate risk.

Loss of biodiversity has significant ramifications on human wellbeing, from disease control and water purification, crop pollination, soil fertility management and flood mitigation to managing risks from drought or flood events. While not fully understood, deforestation and loss of mammal biodiversity has resulted in increases in vector-borne diseases like malaria and leishmaniasis; research also points toward spending time outdoors having positive benefits such as mental wellbeing, lower blood pressure levels and anxiety reductions.

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