Ambassador Holger Standertskjöld, head of the delegation of the European Commission to Singapore, said climate change is one of the biggest environmental, social and economic threats facing the Earth today. It impacts on biodiversity and is one of the causes of biodiversity loss and exacerbates other pressures.
However, “biodiversity and ecosystem services play a fundamental role to mitigate climate change and to adapt to its effects.”
“Coral reefs and mangroves provide natural shoreline protection from storm and flooding. Marine and terrestrial ecosystems currently absorb half of anthropogenic carbon-dioxide emissions. This means climate change will accelerate further if biodiversity and ecosystems are not effectively protected,” Standertskjöld said.
Biodiversity, he said, is important for all human beings because at least 40 percent of the world’s economy and 80 percent of the needs of the poor come from biological resources.
“Biodiversity benefits people through more than just its contribution to material welfare and livelihoods,” he said, noting that it contributes to security, resilience against climate change, social relations, health, and freedom of choices and actions.
“We are stewards of a wonderful natural legacy that we need to pass on intact to future generations. But, sadly, biodiversity loss continues at alarming rates, with serious potential consequences for sustainable livelihoods and sustainable economic growth,” Standertskjöld said.
If carried out well, global warming solutions aimed at conserving tropical rainforests should go a long way toward protecting their biodiversity and ecosystem services.
However, we still have a lot of work to do to enact conservation solutions that protect biodiversity in the world's remaining ecosystems. The good news is that land use solutions that conserve biodiversity also increase the resilience of ecosystems to global warming, so it works both ways...