IUCN - Act now on climate change, IUCN urges governments

Act now on climate change, IUCN urges governments

20 November 2008 | News story

IUCN is calling on governments at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznan, Poland, to make strong commitments to reduce carbon emissions in the short-term, not just the long-term.

“Despite the current economic crisis, we want governments here in Poznan to take concrete steps towards agreeing on interim targets for emission reductions,” says Ninni Ikkala, IUCN Climate Change Officer. “We want to see commitments by developed countries to reduce emissions below 1990 levels by 25 to 40 percent by 2020.”

Climate change is already affecting people and nature. There is an urgent need to reach an equitable international agreement by 2009, as the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol will end in 2012.

One of the best ways to respond to climate change is to manage what nature already provides for free, such as forests, coral reefs and mangroves.

“It’s often better to use mangroves, for example, to guard coastal communities against extreme weather events than a sea wall because mangroves do more than protect the coastline,” says Neville Ash, Head of IUCN’s Ecosystem Management Programme. “They provide means for people to make a living, they are a home for many different important species and – best of all – they already exist. We just need to recognize their values, and manage them better.”

The world’s forests have the potential to be one of the most cost effective and immediate options to mitigate climate change.

“For Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) in developing countries to make an effective contribution to the post-2012 climate change framework, it will also be important to take into account land tenure rights, enhance good governance, involve local communities and respect indigenous people’s rights,” says Stewart Maginnis, Head of IUCN’s Forest Programme.