Broadly speaking, the two main avenues for tackling climate change are the prevention of emissions and the alleviation of its effects.
Recognising that climate change is one of the most serious threats to our planet and human welfare, many countries have now signed up to international climate change agreements that commit them to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The challenge now is for the international community to create the systems, policies and culture needed to meet these targets – and quickly.
Fauna & Flora International (FFI), meanwhile, is playing its part in tackling this challenge in three key ways:
- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) – Deforestation has major implications for climate change, in part because it is a major source of greenhouse gas emissions in itself, but also because it destroys an important natural carbon store capable of absorbing some of our rising emissions. REDD+ presents an exciting opportunity to address this issue, which is why FFI is working with governments around the world to trial this approach. When properly established, REDD+ will provide monetary incentives (through ‘carbon credits’) for communities to keep their forests standing. Not only does this protect vital carbon stores, it can also help to protect the biodiversity found in these forests. Learn more.
- Protecting habitats – Although forests are perhaps the most recognised for their role in regulating atmospheric gases (and therefore climate), almost all ecosystems play a role in storing carbon, from grasslands and soils to rivers and oceans. FFI’s efforts to protect threatened species and ecosystems therefore have the added benefit of preserving these carbon stores, and ensuring that they function healthily and perform this important service.
- Reducing business impacts – FFI is working with committed partners in the agricultural and extractive sectors to reduce their impact on biodiversity and ecosystem services such as carbon storage. Learn more.
Alleviating the effects of climate change
Despite some progress on the international front, there is no doubt that our changing climate is already affecting species, ecosystems and people. We therefore need to take urgent action to deal with the changes we are seeing (such as unreliable weather patterns and extreme events) and to increase human and ecosystem resilience in order to prepare for the changes yet to come.
FFI is tackling this in two ways:
- Climate change adaptation planning – recognising the very real threat that climate change poses for the species and ecosystems we work with, FFI began a number of years ago to look at our project sites to identify how biodiversity in these areas might be affected and develop strategies for dealing with these vulnerabilities. As well as looking at the direct impacts of climate change on biodiversity, we have been pioneering an approach that identifies how people living in or near our sites are being affected by climate change and helping them to adapt to these impacts (such as falling crop yields) without destroying their local ecosystems. Learn more.
- Protecting threatened species and habitats – climate change has the potential to rapidly push a great many endangered species over the brink into extinction. All of FFI’s work is focused in some way on protecting threatened ecosystems and safeguarding endangered species. In so doing, we are not only addressing the problems they face today, but also increasing the resilience of these species and ecosystems, giving them the best chance of survival as the effects of climate change take hold. Learn more.