Overcoming the coupled climate and biodiversity crises and their societal impacts

Earth’s biodiversity and human societies face pollution, overconsumption of natural resources, urbanization, demographic shifts, social and economic inequalities, and habitat loss, many of which are exacerbated by climate change. Here, we review links among climate, biodiversity, and society and develop a roadmap toward sustainability. These include limiting warming to 1.5°C and effectively conserving and restoring functional ecosystems on 30 to 50% of land, freshwater, and ocean “scapes.” We envision a mosaic of interconnected protected and shared spaces, including intensively used spaces, to strengthen self-sustaining biodiversity, the capacity of people and nature to adapt to and mitigate climate change, and nature’s contributions to people. Fostering interlinked human, ecosystem, and planetary health for a livable future urgently requires bold implementation of transformative policy interventions through interconnected institutions, governance, and social systems from local to global levels.

Pörtner, H.-O., Scholes, R. J., Arneth, A., Barnes, D. K. A., Burrows, M. T., Diamond, S. E., Duarte, C. M., Kiessling, W., Leadley, P., Managi, S., McElwee, P., Midgley, G., Ngo, H. T., Obura, D., Pascual, U., Sankaran, M., Shin, Y. J., & Val, A. L. (2023). Overcoming the coupled climate and biodiversity crises and their societal impacts. Science, 380(6642). https://doi.org/10.1126/science.abl4881

This article was initiated as a follow-up to a meeting of 62 scientists from 35 countries, cosponsored by the IPBES and the IPCC. The workshop took place virtually on 14 to 17 December 2020. Technical support was provided by the IPBES secretariat and the IPCC Working Group II TSU. We thank A. Larigauderie for her organizational leadership and Y. Otsuki Estrada, S. Langsdorf, and A. Alegria for their work on the graphics for this manuscript. We thank the following contributors to the Meeting Report, who synthesized the scientific evidence on which this article expands: J. Agard, E. Archer, X. Bai, L. Chan, W. L. Cheung, C. Donatti, N. Eisenhauer, W. Foden, M. A. Gasalla, C. Handa, T. Hickler, O. Hoegh-Guldberg, K. Ichii, U. Jacob, G. Insarov, R. Leemans, L. Levin, M. Lim, S. Maharaj, P. A. Marquet, T. Oberdorff, E. Osman, R. Pandit, A. P. F. Pires, A. Popp, V. Reyes-García, J. Settele, D. W. Sintayehu, P. Smith, N. Steiner, B. Strassburg, R. Sukumar, C. Trisos, J. Wu, E. Aldrian, C. Parmesan, R. Pichs-Madruga, D. C. Roberts, A. D. Rogers, S. Díaz, M. Fischer, S. Hashimoto, S. Lavorel, and N. Wu. Parts of this study are embedded in the Research Unit TERSANE (FOR 2332: Temperature-related stressors as a unifying principle in ancient extinctions).

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