News Release

Turn the tide - turn to nature: IUCN Opening Statement to UN climate change meeting

08 December 2009
DMoore's shrub frog. Photo © Vimukthi-Weeratunga.

Copenhagen, Denmark, 7 December 2009 (IUCN) - It’s now time for governments to make robust commitments and a timeline towards achieving a post-2012 deal on climate change. IUCN urges leaders meeting at the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, 7-18 December, to include nature’s solutions to reduce emissions and cope with climate change impacts in a post-2012 deal. 

“Managing nature will play a key role in our ability to cope with the changing climate and reduce emissions,” says Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General of IUCN. “A massive investment in nature, in the way we protect it, manage it and govern it will take us from where we are today to the low carbon economy of the future.”

Nature is ready to provide powerful tools for both climate change mitigation and adaptation. These are already available, cost-effective and sustainable. We should act now, and not wait until 2012, to deploy these needed adaptation and mitigation solutions.

Managing and conserving ecosystems can increase resilience and reduce the vulnerability of people to the impacts of climate change,” says IUCN’s Head of Ecosystem Management Programme, Neville Ash. “Ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change should be included in a post-2012 adaptation framework.”

REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) is one of the mechanisms on the table that could be deployed almost immediately. While deforestation accounts for 17% of greenhouse gas emissions, several recent studies suggest it could contribute to almost one third of the mitigation solution over the next decade.

“Preventing deforestation and restoring forest areas through REDD-plus can combat climate change in a cost-effective way while generating tangible benefits for local livelihoods and biodiversity,” says IUCN’s Director of Environment and Development Stewart Maginnis “REDD-plus must be an integral part of the future climate deal”.

Protecting the oceans is vital for carbon storage and capture “The oceans absorb up to one third of CO₂ released by human activities,” Carl Gustaf Lundin, head of IUCN’s Marine Programme. “Protecting the oceans against acidification by cutting CO₂ emissions is essential for them to continue to be earth’s most significant natural heat buffer and carbon sink, and to provide food, livelihoods and other services to billions of people”.

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