Biodiversity and climate action in the IKI
The global conservation and protection of biodiversity is inextricably linked to climate change mitigation. Apart from changes in types of land use, climate change is one of the most serious causes of global loss of biodiversity. However, their conservation is in turn essential for sustainable climate change mitigation and for fast and effective adaptation to the impacts of climate change. The close systemic interrelationships and interactions between the climate and biodiversity crises are also increasingly receiving political recognition and pose major challenges in political practice.
In order to restore and protect biodiversity, long-term tackling of the climate crisis is considered essential. But if climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation are considered jointly in this context, there is conversely also enormous potential for tackling the climate crisis and adapting to climate change. These potentials, which result from the close correlation, must be put into practice.
Interactions between climate change and loss of biodiversity
- Climate regulation and stabilisation: Biodiversity plays a decisive role in regulating the climate and cushioning extreme environmental conditions. On the other hand, the changed temperatures usually have a negative impact on animal and plant species.
- Ecosystems as carbon sinks: Enormous amounts of greenhouse gases are stored in healthy and diverse ecosystems, which are characterised by a high number of endemic species. At the same time, loss and damage to ecosystems releases greenhouse gases that accelerate climate change.
- Conservation of ecosystem functions: Intact ecosystems provide important services such as clean water or fresh air, which are vital for all of us. Climate change can lead to the loss of species, which therefore weakens ecosystems and in turn leads to the loss and restriction of important ecosystem services.
- Adaptation and resilience: Biodiversity can improve the resilience of ecosystems to the impacts of climate change and contribute to preserving essential ecosystem services. Measures to protect and promote biodiversity can therefore be applied in a targeted way in order to better adapt habitats and people to the impacts of climate change.
Potentials and challenges
By considering both crises as inextricably interconnected challenges, suitable solutions can be implemented, which are beneficial both for the climate and biodiversity. This requires close cooperation between science, politics and the wider society in order to identify synergies, intensify protection measures and jointly develop sustainable solutions.
The reports of the IPBES (Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) and the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) comment extensively on the interrelationships between climate and biodiversity crises.
Despite these scientific findings, policy measures that comprehensively address both the climate and biodiversity crises have been limited to date. The implementation of such measures poses numerous challenges, and there are too few practical examples so far, in which synergies are effectively used and conflicts of objectives are avoided. Therefore, it is urgently necessary to strengthen such approaches in practice and to indicate possible ways to implement them in national and global policy measures.
Nature-based solutions: Solutions in line with nature
Nature-based solutions (NbS) are a promising strategy for jointly tackling the challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss. They combine the protection of biodiversity with greenhouse gas mitigation and adaptation to the impacts of climate change.
NbS not only consider ecological aspects, but also take into account social and economic challenges, thus contributing to sustainable development. In doing so, they are usually less expensive than technical solutions and therefore an important component of IKI-funding.
Measures in IKI practice
Through its work, the IKI makes a significant contribution to the integration of biodiversity into climate action. Therefore, projects beyond the IKI funding area “Biodiversity Conservation” also take into consideration the systemic interactions between climate change and biodiversity through their project design. Specifically, this means that possible consequences and potentials are included in the consideration of measures to mitigate the climate crisis. In this way, the projects especially contribute to the mainstreaming of biodiversity in the other IKI funding areas, and are intended to stimulate a change in thinking and combination.
Videos from the projects
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