The UN warns that some climate change fixes may lead to species extinction

United Nations scientists said that in order to save the planet, the world needs to jointly respond to the crisis of climate change and species loss, and take measures to solve these two problems, not just one problem.

The United Nations’ independent scientific agency publishes a joint report on Thursday to study climate change and biodiversity loss Found that there are ways to solve these two global problems at the same time, but some solutions to warming may accelerate the extinction of plants and animals.

Biofuels, carbon capture and storage may pose risks to species

For example, measures such as the expansion of bioenergy crops such as corn, or efforts to extract carbon dioxide from the air and bury it, may use so much land—twice the area of ??India—and its impact will “have an impact on biodiversity. Quite a catastrophic impact,” said co-author and biologist Almut Arneth of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Germany.

Co-author Pamela McElwee, a human ecologist at Rutgers University, said that policy responses to climate change and biodiversity loss have been isolated for a long time, and different government agencies are responsible.

Scientists say that these problems have worsened each other, are intertwined, and ultimately hurt people.

On July 3, 2020, a coal-fired power plant evaporates behind a corn field in Datteln, Germany. Measures such as expanding bioenergy crops such as corn, or trying to extract carbon dioxide from the air and bury it, could take up so much land-said the report’s co-author Almut Arneth. The impact will “have a rather catastrophic impact on biodiversity.” (Martin Meissner/Associated Press)

“Climate change and biodiversity loss are threatening human well-being and society,” said Hans Otto Portner, co-chair of the report, a German biologist who helps oversee the impact team of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change .

Botner said that the earth’s natural changing climate has affected the development of life, including humans, but once people in the industrialized world begin to emit fossil fuels into the air, a series of problems will arise.

“Now is the time to correct our mistakes,” he said. “The climate system is off track and biodiversity is affected.”

According to the report, protecting tropical forests and peatlands is a win-win situation

According to the report, there are many measures that can solve these two problems at the same time.

“Protecting and restoring high-carbon ecosystems,” such as tropical forests and peatlands, should be a high priority, said Pete Smith, a plant and soil scientist at the University of Aberdeen.

Although some climate solutions may increase species loss, scientists say that efforts to curb extinction will not really harm the climate.

You Enshin, the research director of the French National Institute, said that most of the measures taken to protect biodiversity will also help curb climate change. She said that although there is growing interest in nature-based solutions, she said that protection measures “must be accompanied by clear emission reductions.”

“This report is an important milestone,” said Simon Lewis, Chair of Global Change Science at University College London, who was not involved in the report.

He said: “Finally, the two scientific information about the most serious crisis of the 21st century is being combined by world institutions.” “Preventing the loss of biodiversity is more difficult than phasing out the use of fossil fuels.”

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