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Climate change has emerged as a leading cause of biodiversity loss. As Scientific American noted, it will be the fastest-growing cause of species loss in the Americas by midcentury and in Africa it could cause some animals to decline by as much as 50 percent by the end of the century, and up to 90 percent of coral reefs in the Pacific Ocean may bleach or degrade by the year 2050.
As human activity significantly warms the planet, ecosystems are becoming disrupted and it’s driving species to extinction.
Pushing the Limits: Humans are pushing many of the planet’s natural systems to the brink and not only is this causing biodiversity loss but it’s making nature less capable of sequestering carbon and regulating climate. According to the Guardian,
“At the moment, we don’t know how much biodiversity the planet can lose without prompting widespread ecological collapse. But one approach has assessed so-called “planetary boundaries”, thresholds in Earth systems that define a “safe operating space for humanity”. Of the nine considered, just biodiversity loss and nitrogen pollution are estimated to have been crossed, unlike CO2 levels, freshwater used and ozone losses.”
More On That Point: As Columbia University explained, when humans alter the climate, ecosystems and biodiversity will be forced to fluctuate along with the regional climate, and that could harm many species.
These climate change impacts are in part due to how we have altered land use. Turning natural areas into cities or agricultural fields not only diminishes biodiversity, but can make warming worse by chopping down trees and plants that help cool the planet.
Changes in climate can also intensify droughts, decrease water supply, threaten food security, erode and inundate coastlines, and weaken natural resilience infrastructure that humans depend on.
Why This Matters: This sounds like a lot of doom and gloom but we can tackle biodiversity loss and climate change at the same time. Working to protect natural landscapes can play a significant role in the fight against climate change. Restoring natural lands or preventing them from being destroyed in the first place could deliver more than a third of the action needed by 2030 to keep global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius.
Additionally, natural climate solutions such as building reefs, restoring wetlands, turning to regenerative farming and planting an abundance of native species can help rebuild nature’s resiliency and ensure the survival of species. Helping rebalance the natural carbon cycle is also one of the best tools we have to prevent the worst-predicted biodiversity loss outcomes.
As Axios reported yesterday based on insight received from the Biden campaign: foreign policy will look drastically different if Joe Biden defeats President Trump in November— starting with a Day One announcement that the U.S. is re-entering the Paris Climate Agreement and new global coordination of the coronavirus response. Why This Matters: Even though most […]
A new study shows that climate change in the 150 years since the industrial revolution has canceled out the prior 6500 years of cooling. The study, conducted by researchers at Northern Arizona University’s School of Earth and Sustainability (SES), examined a new compilation of paleoclimate data along with new statistical analyses and found that millennial-scale […]
There’s been ample research to show that the Arctic is warming much faster than any other region on the planet. However, there’s been little media focus on what’s happening on the opposite side of the planet, until now. A new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change on Monday has revealed that the South […]
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