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Climate change: biodiversity and people on the front line

Royal Society, London
Wednesday 9 November 2011

WWF-UK, together with Natural England and BirdLife/RSPB, hosted a conference of leading climate change and ecosystem experts at the Royal Society in London on 9 November 2011 - 'Climate change: biodiversity and people on the front line' - to highlight the impacts of climate change on wildlife and people, now and in the future.

The key messages from this event have gone on to inform the discussions at the UNFCCC meeting in Durban and will be used to inform the Rio+20 United Nations conference.

Ecosystems are already under intense pressure across the world. What further pressures will climate change bring? How will climate change impact on biodiversity and ecosystems? What will this mean for people? These are critical questions for society addressed by the conference.

Evidence of the danger posed by climate change to the natural world is growing, as is the awareness of our dependency on ecosystems. But the links between the two need wider recognition for effective policy and practice.

The conference showed that the predicted level of climate change will affect the Earth’s natural systems significantly, to the extent that the planet may no longer support much of life as we know it today - unless the world increases its ambitions and efforts to mitigate global warming.

Otherwise we risk losing not just wildlife and nature, but essential services from the environment that support human lives and livelihoods - food and fabric, water and timber, and protection from drought and storm - as well as many cultural and spiritual needs.

Time is running out to prevent dangerous climate change. Recent research shows that to keep global temperature rise below 2°C, global emissions must peak around 2016 and reduce by 3% annually from then on.

This is a huge and urgent challenge - but not as big a challenge as surviving in a world of dangerous climate change.

You can...
See the conference programme in full
Read speakers biographies and presentation outlines
Find out our key messages and call to action for Durban 2011

Watch a powerful pre-recorded video presentation by Moussa Na Abou Mamouda (from ENDA Senagal & Africa Adapt) giving an African perspective on Durban, climate change, ecosystems and people.