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How can the Ecosystems Approach achieve multiple goals of climate stabilization, support adaptation to inevitable climate change impacts and maintain essential ecosystem goods and services?

Biodiversity, ecosystems and the services they provide (food, water, shelter, climate regulation, health support and sanitation, disaster risk reduction etc), are the fundamental components of life support on Earth.

Biodiversity and the ecosystems it supports play a vital role in both ecosystem-based mitigation (‘biosequestration’ – the ability of living organisms to capture CO2 and store it, i.e. in soils) and ecosystem-based societal adaptation to climate change impacts.

A world ‘off balance’

Whilst human caused greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, the global capacity to absorb them is declining due to ecosystem degradation. Continuation of this imbalance will lead to climate instability and reduce essential ecosystem services. Appropriate valuation, protection and management of the world’s ecosystems achieve progress towards three vital objectives:

  1. Cost effective mitigation and adaptation for climate stabilisation through use of natural carbon sequestration processes.
  2. Secured delivery of essential ecosystem services, e.g. clean air, food and water security.
  3. Support transition to a secure, sustainable future.
Balancing emissions sources and global ecosystems

Climate stabilisation can only be achieved by balancing emissions sources (human and natural) and the global ecosystems’ sink capacity. The protection and management of the world’s ecosystems offers a highly cost effective multiple ‘win’ mechanism for mitigation by enhancing sink capacity and protects the essential life supporting ecosystem services that will enable societal adaptation to climate change.

Ecosystem ‘goods and services’

Ecosystem goods and services are the fundamental pillars of support for human and all other forms of life, through the provision of water, food, shelter, health, climate regulation and many other multiple benefits.

In a time of uncertain future climate and economic conditions, it is essential to maintain the basic elements that support human societies.