Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change

Recent assessment reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) have highlighted the risks to humanity arising from the unsustainable use of natural resources. Thus far, land, freshwater, and ocean exploitation have been the chief causes of biodiversity loss. Climate change is projected to be a rapidly increasing additional driver for biodiversity loss. Since climate change and biodiversity loss impact human societies everywhere, bold solutions are required that integrate environmental and societal objectives. As yet, most existing international biodiversity targets have overlooked climate change impacts. At the same time, climate change mitigation measures themselves may harm biodiversity directly. The Convention on Biological Diversity’s post-2020 framework offers the important opportunity to address the interactions between climate change and biodiversity and revise biodiversity targets accordingly by better aligning these with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals. We identify the considerable number of existing and proposed post-2020 biodiversity targets that risk being severely compromised due to climate change, even if other barriers to their achievement were removed. Our analysis suggests that the next set of biodiversity targets explicitly addresses climate change-related risks since many aspirational goals will not be feasible under even lower-end projections of future warming. Adopting more flexible and dynamic approaches to conservation, rather than static goals, would allow us to respond flexibly to changes in habitats, genetic resources, species composition, and ecosystem functioning and leverage biodiversity’s capacity to contribute to climate change mitigation and adaptation.


biodiversity, ecosystem services, sustainability, policy

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Arneth Almut, Shin Yunne-Jai, Leadley Paul, Rondinini Carlo, Bukvareva Elena, Kolb Melanie, Midgley Guy F., Oberdorff Thierry, Palomo Ignacio, Saito Osamu (2020). Post-2020 biodiversity targets need to embrace climate change. Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of The United States Of America. 117 (49). 30882-30891.,

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