Species extinction and the degradation of ecosystems are proceeding rapidly and the pace is accelerating. The world is losing species at a rate that is 100 to 1000 times faster than the natural extinction rate. The challenges of conserving the world's species are perhaps even larger than mitigating the negative effects of global climate change.
Dealing with the biodiversity crisis requires political will and needs to be based on a solid scientific knowledge if we are to ensure a safe future for the planet. This is the main conclusion from scientists from University of Copenhagen, after 100 researchers and policy experts from EU countries were gathered during the latter part of January 2012 at the University of Copenhagen to discuss how to organise the future UN Intergovernmental Panel for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, IPBES - an equivalent to the UN panel on climate change (IPCC).
"The biodiversity crisis – i.e. the rapid loss of species and the rapid degradation of ecosystems – is probably a greater threat than global climate change to the stability and prosperous future of mankind on Earth. There is a need for scientists, politicians and government authorities to closely collaborate if we are to solve this crisis. This makes the need to establish the Intergovernmental Platform for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) very urgent, which may happen at a UN meeting in Panama City in April," says professor Carsten Rahbek, Director for the Center for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate, University of Copenhagen.
Professor Rahbek was one of the main forces behind this week's conference on biodiversity and the organisation of the new IPBES. The new panel is the biodiversity equivalent to the UN panel on climate change, which has resulted in enhanced policy awareness and changes around the world, and initiated a change of behaviour for billions of people in many companies.
Unfortunately, the same is not true when it comes to reducing the threats to ecosystems and the loss of animal and plant species.