IPCC and IPBES warn against treating biodiversity loss and climate change as separate issues

The IPCC and IPBES report warns that biodiversity and climate change are interconnected issues that cannot be resolved independently of one other.

Climate change reducing the ice for polar bear

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) collaborated for the first time at a virtual workshop in June 2021. “Tackling Biodiversity & Climate Crises Together and Their Combined Social Impactsis the result of their cooperation. 

Danger of separating complex issues

The report highlights that climate change and biodiversity loss are the most important issues of the past 150 years. Recognition exists in scientific and policy-making circles that these two phenomenon are interconnected. But, they are predominantly addressed separately. For example, each has its own international convention and intergovernmental body. 

This separation has led to policies that mitigate climate change and biodiversity loss independently of each other. It risks ongoing failure to identify, understand and deal with the connections between them. These issues are both driven by human economic activities and mutually reinforce each other. It is subsequently impossible to successfully tackle them individually. 

Key report findings

To maximise benefits and achieve global development goals, it is crucial to address the synergies between combatting biodiversity loss and climate change. It is typical of complicated systems that the individual parts cannot be considered in isolation.

To resolve this, the joint IPCC and IPBES report aims to explore the many complex connections between the two. As the first joint collaboration between the intergovernmental bodies, it is a landmark activity for them both.

Solutions to climate change and biodiversity loss

The report’s authors find that there are many measures with the potential to make significant positive contributions for the climate and biodiversity. Likewise, they identify a number of narrowly-focused actions to combat climate change that can directly and indirectly harm nature and vice versa.

Moreover, they stress that though nature offers effective solutions to reduce the impact of climate change, they can only be effective when combined with substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.