Climate change and biodiversity: IPCC technical paper V

Climate change and biodiversity: IPCC technical paper V

What can be done to protect bioversity from the effects of climate change?

With the current rate of biodiversity loss greater than the natural background rate of extinction, a critical question addressed by this technical paper is ‘how much might climate change (natural or human induced) enhance or inhibit these losses in biodiversity?

Key findings of the document include:

  • changes in climate exert additional pressure and have already begun to affect biodiversity
  • climate change is projected to affect all aspects of biodiversity, however, the projected changes have to take into account the impacts from other past, present, and future activities, including increasing atmospheric concentrations of CO2
  • the general effect of projected human-induced climate change is that the habitats of many species will move poleward or upward from their current locations
  • globally by the year 2080, about 20% of coastal wetlands could be lost due to sea-level rise
  • the risk of extinction will increase for many species that are already vulnerable
  • the effectiveness of adaptationand mitigation activities can be enhanced when they are integrated with broader strategies designed to make development paths more sustainable.

The document’s conclusion includes the following suggestions:

  • the development of monitoring systems, using multiple taxa, to assist in the detection of changes in ecosystems and biodiversity within them
  • development and use of detailed and reliable regional scenarios of climate change in vulnerability analysis
  • evaluation of case studies that deal with mitigation (including those in marine environments and carbon sequestration projects) ad adaptation projects on biodiversity
  • identification of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use activities and policies that would beneficially affect climate change adaptation and mitigation options
  • adaptation of project-, sector-, and regional-level environmental socio-economic assessment tools, and further development of a set of criteria and indicators to assess (quantitatively and qualitatively) the synergies and tradeoffs between climate change adaptation and mitigation options and sustainable development.
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