Threats and responses
• Current global mean warming of less than 1ºC above pre-industrial levels has already significantly impacted the Earth’s climate system and the majority of the world’s ecosystems and species.
• The majority of this warming is caused by fossil fuel-generated CO2 which is also causing ocean acidification to occur at an unprecedented rate, with profound ramifications for biodiversity and humanity.
• Observed species-level impacts include exposure to rapidly shifting climate zones, increased extreme weather events, rising sea levels and changes in the distribution and seasonal activities of a wide range of species.
• Conserving and restoring terrestrial, freshwater and marine ecosystems – and their component species – need to be recognised as an essential part of climate change mitigation and adaptation policy.
• Urgent mitigation action to stabilise and reduce CO2 levels is essential if catastrophic biodiversity impacts are to be avoided.
• Essential adaptation action needs to include ecosystem protection to ensure as much species resilience as possible and to maintain natural carbon sinks.