IUCN event | 19 Sep, 2023

Tackling the Twin Climate Change and Biodiversity Crises

The twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss are two of the biggest risks facing our ability to survive and thrive on this planet. This event, taking place on the margins of the UN General Assembly High-Level Week, will explain the severity of these crises, mobilise a range of actors to address them, and to explore how IUCN – including its Patrons of Nature – convenes actors, shapes policy, and applies science to tackle them.

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Photo: LuisValiente from Pixabay

Twin Crises: Climate Change and Biodiversity Loss

Climate change is already resulting in increased temperatures, fires, flooding and droughts, costing countless casualties and damages to infrastructures and economies. Global commitments to sweeping changes to hold global temperatures to no higher than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels remain vague and weak, despite scientific evidence suggesting that heating beyond this amount would result in potentially irreversible and catastrophic impacts. Country pledges and monitoring of progress under the Paris Agreement indicate that we are not on target. Despite increasingly dire warnings from the world’s best experts, we are not yet moving fast enough on either the climate change mitigation or adaptation fronts. 

Nature-based Solutions that protect and restore ecosystems can absorb carbon dioxide and help shield communities from the effects of climate change. But growing demands on resources, and degradation of nature and the services it provides, will further increase our susceptibility to the impacts of climate change, as well as continue to drive biodiversity loss. From a recent IUCN World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA) paper citing the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), researchers reported that overfishing, nutrient run-off, and climate change occur in more than 85% of the marine biomes, and more than three-quarters of the terrestrial world is affected by human activities.

The combined impact of unprecedented change to Earth systems by humans, together with a human-caused rapidly changing climate, means that up to 1 million species are at imminent risk of extinction.

Because nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked, a failure in addressing one will impact the other. Significant policy change and investment are required now – including implementing the Global Biodiversity Framework, recently endorsed under the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), and ensuring that Nature-based Solutions are implemented as part of both the CBD and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Otherwise, the interplay between climate change impacts and natural resource consumption will accelerate ecosystem collapse, threaten food supplies and livelihoods in climate-vulnerable economies, amplify the impacts of natural disasters, and limit further progress on climate mitigation.


Opening remarks to set the stage on the twin crisis and role of nature

Panel moderated by: Tracy Farrell, Director, IUCN North America Regional Office 

Panel Speakers:

  • Razan Khalifa Al Mubarak, IUCN President 
  • Laura Turner Seydel, Chair, Captain Planet Foundation, IUCN Patron of Nature
  • Carlos Manuel Rodriguez, CEO of the Global Environment Facility

Reception to follow.

Note that attendance to this event is by invitation only.