Biodiversity crisis overshadows climate changes

London, Jan 20 (IANS) The challenges of conserving the world’s species against their rapid decline are perhaps even larger than mitigating the negative effects of global climate change, scientists said.

Dealing with the biodiversity crisis requires political will and needs to be based on a solid scientific knowledge if we are to ensure a safe future for the planet.

This was the consensus of scientists from University of Copenhagen at a gathering at Copenhagen held to discuss how to organise the future UN Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) on par with the UN’s IPCC.

“There is a need for scientists, politicians and government authorities to closely collaborate if we are to solve this crisis,” says Carsten Rahbek, director for the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen.

“This makes the need to establish IPBES very urgent, which may happen at a UN meeting in Panama city in April,” adds Rahbek, according to a Copenhagen statement.

“The biodiversity crisis – the rapid loss of species and the rapid degradation of ecosystems – is probably a greater threat than global climate change to the stability and prosperous future of mankind on earth,” adds Rahbek.

Biodiversity is declining rapidly throughout the world, which is losing species at a rate that is 100 to 1,000 times faster than the natural extinction rate.

Mass extinctions of species have occurred five times previously in the history of the world – last time was 65 million years ago when the dinosaurs and many other species disappeared.

Now we are in the sixth mass extinction event, which is a result of a competition for resources between one species on the planet – humans – and all others.