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Biodiversity: Policy Challenges in a Changing World Natural Capital Initiative symposium: “Valuing our life support systems” London Professor John Beddington.

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Presentation on theme: "Biodiversity: Policy Challenges in a Changing World Natural Capital Initiative symposium: “Valuing our life support systems” London Professor John Beddington."— Presentation transcript:

1 Biodiversity: Policy Challenges in a Changing World Natural Capital Initiative symposium: “Valuing our life support systems” London Professor John Beddington Chief Scientific Adviser to HM Government and Head of the Government Office for Science 29 April 2009

2 Global challenges  Water demand  Energy demand  Urbanisation  Population Alleviating poverty Climate Change Infectious diseases  Food demand Biodiversity

3 Causes of degradation are stable or increasing Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

4 Millennium ecosystem assessment Biomes More than half of the 6/14 major world biomes had been converted by 1990 Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment

5 Human Footprint Source: Wildlife Conservation Society

6 Extinctions per thousand species per million Source: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment 2005 Future extinction rates estimated to be 10 to 100 times higher Extinction of species

7 2002, Conference of the Parties of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) 123 Ministers committed themselves to: ‘“.. achieve, by 2010, a significant reduction of the current rate of biodiversity loss at the global, regional and national levels as a contribution to poverty alleviation and to the benefit of all life on earth” (Decision VI/26) CBD 2010 biodiversity target

8 Risks to ecosystems – need to act Source: IPCC AR 4

9 The situation may be worse than predicted Source: NSIDC 2007 Arctic, near-ice free by 2030? (Source: Wang and Overland, 2009)

10 Ocean Acidification Source: Blackford & Gilbert 2007, Caldeira & Wickett 2003 Changes in pH over the last 25 million years Oceans are an important reservoir for CO 2 with ~30% of CO 2 produced from fossil fuel burning & land-use change taken up by oceans (Sabine et al 2004) Oceans will become: warmer; more acidic; less diverse; and over exploited The impact on ocean food webs, ecosystems and biogeochemical cycles could be very serious

11 Increases in global population and urbanisation Source: United Nations, World Population Prospects: The 2006 Revision (medium scenario) Urban and rural populations of the world (at mid-year) World population, by region Source: United Nations, World Urbanization Prospects: 2008 (revision)

12 Increased demand for food and energy World food requirements World food production must rise by 50 % by 2030 to meet increasing demand (Source: UN 2008) World primary energy demand by fuel Total world energy demands are predicted to increase by approx. 50% by 2030 (Source: IEA 2008: Reference Scenario)

13 Source: UNEP, 2002 Availability of fresh water Cubic metres of water Fresh water availability per head of world population Source: ABS in 3 people are already facing water shortages Source: Comprehensive Assessment of Water Management in Agriculture 2007 Total world water demands are predicted to increase by over 30% by 2030 Source: IFRPI

14 The Perfect Storm? Increased demand 50% by 2030 (IEA) Energy Water Increased demand 30% by 2030 (IFPRI) Food Increased demand 50% by 2030 (FAO) Climate Change

15 Solutions ? Ensure value of ecosystems are taken into account when making decisions New energy technology Make hard choices about agriculture, food, energy and water Better planning and management Change behaviour, education and training We recommend enhancing levels of taxonomic training and linking such training more directly to the ongoing measurement of biodiversity. Royal Society – measuring biodiversity for conservation, 2003

16 Agricultural production More people means less cultivated land per person for food, feed, (agro)-fuel and fibre production 2030 – 8.3 bn people 2030 – even less farmland per person

17 Source: NRC, 2008/Henoa and Baanante 2006 Cereal production evolution Hard Agricultural Choices (i)

18 Agricultural productivity Source: Embrapa, Brazil Hard Agricultural Choices (ii)

19 Key Questions Increased demand 50% by 2030 (IEA) Energy Water Increased demand 30% by 2030 (IFPRI) Food Increased demand 50% by 2030 (FAO) Climate Change 1.Can 9 billion people be fed equitably, healthily and sustainably? 2.Can we cope with the future demands on water? 3.Can we provide enough energy to supply the growing population coming out of poverty? 4.Can we mitigate and adapt to climate change? 5.Can we do all this in the context of redressing the decline in biodiversity and preserving ecosystems? Biodiversity

20 Joint Programmes Joint Climate Research Programme

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