The online international Climate Adaptation Summit (CAS 2021), hosted by the Netherlands Government, created the first-ever dedicated platform of global leaders and local stakeholders aimed at placing the world firmly on a pathway to accelerated climate adaptation and resilience towards a recovery from Covid-19.
The summit jumpstarted a year of climate-related events by linking up with the World Economic Forum’s Davos Agenda Week, Jan. 25-29 and also set the tone for COP26, the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference https://ukcop26.org.
The Summit was attended by World leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, French President Emmanuel Macron, UN Secretary‐General Antonio Guterres, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh, The Deputy Prime Minister of China, Han Zheng, the US Climate Envoy John Kerry, President Joko Widodo of Indonesia, President Ali Bongo of Gabon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, President Alberto Fernández of Argentina, IMF‐director Kristalina Georgieva, the former UN Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon, Bill Gates, co-founder of Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. They discussed the global cooperation and enhanced leadership needed for a climate-resilient future by 2030.
. The full speaker list can be found here: https://www.cas2021.com/about‐ cas2021/opening‐session/speakers.
Climate Change has an Impact on Biodiversity
According to a recent study led by Almut Arneth from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)1 a considerable number of existing and proposed post-2020 biodiversity targets by international organizations are at risk of being severely compromised due to climate change, even if other barriers such as habitat exploitation are removed. According to their analysis published in PNAS, global warming accelerates the loss of biodiversity. Vice versa, measures to protect biodiversity may also mitigate the impacts of climate change. The authors suggest that flexible approaches to conservation would allow dynamic responses to the effects of climate change on habitats and species.
According to their study, about a million plant and animal species are endangered worldwide. At least 13 of the 17 sustainable development goals of the United Nations, however, depend on biodiversity, including species diversity, the genetic diversity within species and the diversity of ecosystems. Biodiversity regulates fundamental processes, such as soil formation and water-, trace-gas-, and nutrient cycles and thus contributes notably l to regulating the climate. The continued loss of biodiversity makes humankind face ecological, social, and economic problems. "Apart from the over-exploitation of natural resources on land and in water, or environmental pollution, climate change also causes loss of biological diversity. This impact will increase in future," says Almut Arneth, Professor at the Atmospheric Environmental Research Division of the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU), KIT's Campus Alpine in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. She led an international study that is now published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS) under the title "Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change."
Targets for Worldwide Biodiversity Conservation are Missed
In their study, scientists from Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Russia, South Africa, Mexico, and Japan analyzed the so-called Aichi targets for the worldwide protection of biodiversity that were adopted by the 10th Conference of the Parties of the UN Convention on Biodiversity in Nagoya, prefecture of Aichi, in 2010 for compliance by 2020. Most of these targets will be missed.
In addition, the researchers analyzed the set of revised biodiversity protection targets currently negotiated by the parties for the time after 2020, which are to be reached by 2030 or 2050. They found that many existing or proposed targets are at risk due to global warming, even if the mean global temperature increase would remain at the lower limit of projections. "It certainly is a big challenge, but also an important opportunity to better handle on the political level the interactions between climate change and biodiversity loss, and to better coordinate the biodiversity targets with the Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Sustainable Development Goals," Arneth explains. The biodiversity targets proposed should therefore consider climate change much more explicitly, she thinks.
Climate Change Threatens Species & Mountain Glaciers to Shrink
In their study, Arneth gives an example: A biodiversity target for nature reserves must consider the fact that composition and growth of vegetation will change with climate change and that certain species of plants and animals will either migrate or be threatened, if climatic conditions are changing.