While normally considered environmental issues, human-induced climate change and loss of biodiversity are economic, development, social and security issues, threatening the ability of countries to achieve most of the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals, especially poverty alleviation, food, water and energy security, and a healthy, equitable and conflict-free society.
The vast majority of countries have acknowledged the importance of these issues by endorsing the Paris climate agreement and the 20 biodiversity Aichi targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity. Unfortunately, the world is not on course to meet the Paris target of 2oC, let alone the aspiration target of 1.5oC, and most of the twenty Aichi targets will not be met anywhere in the world. The current country pledges under the Paris agreement place us on a pathway where the world will on average warm by 3-4oC.
Technologies, policies and practices do exist to achieve the Paris targets but would require unprecedented changes in the production and use of energy and land-use management. Loss of biodiversity at the genetic, species and landscape level is projected under literally all plausible futures due to the conversion, fragmentation and over-exploitation of ecosystems, pollution, invasive alien species and human-induced climate change, which in turn adversely impact the material, regulating and non-material contributions of nature to people.
The conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity require transformational changes, facilitated through more integrated multi-sectoral policies, financing, appropriate technologies, and behaviour changes, coupled with more inclusive, participatory and decentralized governance systems at the national, regional and global level.