Climate change and biodiversity loss are interconnected crises that are endangering both humans and nature. The new global targets for biodiversity, climate, and sustainability for 2030 and 2050 will not be achieved unless the root causes of climate change and biodiversity loss are addressed, and concrete actions are taken to meet current political agreements and goals at a faster pace and larger scale
A joint meeting of members of the International Panels on Climate Change and Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services has identified critical actions that need to be taken to address these challenges. A new paper in Science by Pörtner et al. reviews the results of this meeting and highlights key advances in understanding the challenges.
1.To limit global warming to 1.5°C or below, it is crucial to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and implement effective adaptation measures to minimize the impacts of climate change on ecosystems and human societies.
2. To effectively protect ecosystems and mitigate climate change, it is important to implement community-led protection of 30 to 50% of interconnected land, ocean, and freshwater areas, including a range of ecosystems from pristine to urban areas. One of the most important objectives is to prevent further exploitation of fossil fuels.
3. We need to build development pathways that are based on collective responsibility, sustainable and circular use of natural resources, avoidance of overconsumption and waste, and equitable and participatory development. This requires aligning political, economic, and social institutions with sustainability goals at regional and global scales.
4. Efforts should be made to ensure fair access to and benefits from natural ecosystems for all societies, groups, and individuals. This will promote social justice and address social inequalities while contributing to a good quality of life for all.
The authors of the paper emphasize that addressing the global climate and biodiversity crises requires transformative action that involves both institutional and individual changes. Achieving sustainability for nature and people requires a collective effort from governments, businesses, civil society, and individuals.