The world faces increasingly urgent twin crises. Climate change and nature loss threaten irreversible changes to the global environment, changes that will profoundly impact the wellbeing of billions of people around the world.
These two crises are fundamentally linked. Climate change is a key driver of biodiversity loss. It increases the severity and frequency of hazards such as droughts and floods, changes the ranges in which species can thrive, alters food webs, and affects times and patterns of reproduction. Degradation of natural ecosystems – particularly deforestation – is both releasing enormous volumes of greenhouse gases, and reducing the ability of natural systems to continue to absorb carbon from the atmosphere. On the other hand, we know how much nature can contribute to addressing the greatest threats the world faces including climate change, water security, food security, health, and disaster risk management.
This is why it is significant – and vitally important – that IUCN Members at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Marseille voted to create a Climate Crisis Commission (CCC). This Commission, the Congress ruled, is charged with working with regional and national IUCN committees and civil society to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, taking into account actions and initiatives developed through the UN climate change process. I am honoured to have been appointed as Interim Chair of the CCC.