Our Climate's Secret Ally
Posted on 14 November 2022
Healthy nature is an ally that helps prevent climate breakdown and make us more resilient to a warming planet.The latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that Earth’s natural systems play a central role in regulating the climate – and in protecting us from the worst consequences of our actions.
The world’s oceans, plants, animals and soils have absorbed 54% of man-made greenhouse gas emissions of the past 10 years. Critical ecosystems, such as wetlands, mangroves and coral reefs, help to shield us from the worsening hazards of extreme weather and sea-level rise.
But these natural systems are under threat and have their own limits, and the continued destrution of nature has huge consequences for us all.
Our societies, culture and our economy are fundamentally dependent upon nature – for food and water security, for air quality, for protection against disease, for energy, the list goes on. Many Indigenous Peoples and local communities depend directly on ecosystems for their survival.
Our report - Climate’s Secret Ally: Uncovering the story of nature in the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report - draws upon the IPCC’s work to highlight the interlinked emergencies of human-induced climate change and biodiversity loss, threatening the well-being of current and future generations and to make the case for better integrating nature into our response to the climate crisis.
It is clear that, without harnessing the ability of nature to store carbon and help regulate the climate, it will be impossible to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and avoid the worst risks of climate change. And without the protections healthy nature provides from climate hazards, more people will be at greater risk.