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April 30, 2019

IPBES: The IPCC for Wildlife


The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) Global Assessment documents an urgent global crisis of the natural world. Prepared by 150 international experts, the report draws on thousands of scientific papers from around the globe.

The conclusion: we are witnessing an unprecedented acceleration in the global rate of species extinction, driven by human action.

It’s a call to arms. It requires rapid and far-reaching action to halt the decline of our natural world.

The publication is the first global assessment to systematically acknowledge, examine and include the crucial role of indigenous and local knowledge and priorities. Their role in determining a better environmental future will inform better policies and actions in the coming decade.

From highlighting the importance of indigenous knowledge to the immediacy of our need to protect rainforest, here are our five key takeaways from this report, commonly called the ‘IPCC for wildlife.’

Children holding up letters spelling BIODIVERSIDAD

1. Nature is in trouble

The implications of habitat decimation are undeniably bleak. But it’s still possible to make a difference.

From the food we eat to the clothes we wear, extraction and supply chains are putting tremendous pressure on the natural world. We can make choices that benefit the world, and protect the most biodiverse habitats on Earth.

Rainforests are home to two-thirds of all living animal and plant species on the planet, with hundreds of millions of species still undiscovered. From sequestering carbon to protecting vital habitat, the benefits of rainforest conservation are manifold and require urgent action.

Protecting rainforest is key if we want to make a difference in our natural world.

2. Indigenous peoples and their lands are most threatened

Many of the areas where Nature’s contribution to human wellbeing will be most severely compromised are home to indigenous peoples and the world’s poorest communities that are also vulnerable to climate change. They have the least responsibility for human-induced climate change, yet are the first to face the impacts.

It is essential that the voices and experiences of local communities drive choices in conservation if it is to be a success for people and planet.

3. Species loss is increasing

Up to one million species are facing extinction, many will disappear within decades. From the smallest, pollinating bees in our gardens to the majestic roaming mammals of the Savannahs, they’re increasingly being wiped out.

The pace of loss ‘is already tens to hundreds of times higher than it has been, on average, over the last 10 million years,’ the report notes. We are also losing the 8.7 million undiscovered species at an alarming rate, alongside the ones we can see.

4. Ecosystem services

From food to fuel, clothes to livelihoods, nature underpins every economy on Earth.

According to the IPBES, more than two billion people rely on wood fuel for energy, four billion rely on natural medicines, and more than 75% of global food crops require animal pollination.

In Cool Earth’s Lubutu partnership, we’ve seen fuelwood consumption halved with the introduction of energy efficient stoves. Sometimes it’s the simplest ideas that can have the biggest impact.

5. Protecting rainforest with Cool Earth is the smartest climate action you can take

It’s not too late to make a difference. If we act now.

Around the world, land is being deforested, burned and cleared with catastrophic and irreparable implications for wildlife and people.

We must protect rainforest, before they reach a tipping point and turn into a savannah-like ecosystem. That would be the end for millions of species and our greatest natural land carbon sequestration feature.

Forests are integral to every moment of our daily lives, providing water and oxygen for all of us, and home and livelihood for millions. It is vital to protect this essential natural resource.

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IPBES: The IPCC for Wildlife
"Through 'transformative change', nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably" - Sir Bob Watson

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