Conservation International CEO Statement on IPCC Report: “This marks a turning point in the fight against climate change”
February 28, 2022
Arlington, VA (Feb. 28, 2022) – Conservation International CEO Dr. M. Sanjayan released the following statement in response to the release of the Working Group II contribution to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC’s) Sixth Assessment Report, which was published today in Berlin:
“This Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report marks a turning point in the fight against climate change. It forces us to reckon with a stark reality: The crisis is here, and it is all around us. Already, the world’s fire-prone area has doubled. Eons-old species are lost forever. Crop yields are lower, and marine habitats less friendly to life. And without rapid decarbonization of the global economy, we will see inland wells dry up, while coastal cities decay into the sea. Wildlife will die off in droves, jobs will disappear overnight, and the resources we require to survive will grow scarce. Famine, conflict, and zoonotic disease will ravage bodies, and trauma will torment minds.
“This is the true cost of continued inaction: an irreversible flood of human misery.
“As the world’s most vulnerable — and least culpable — begin to feel the early effects of a warming planet, it is high time for the global north to make good on past promises. In addition to expediting carbon mitigation efforts, the world’s wealthiest nations must scale up adaptation funding — starting with frontline communities. If done right, these investments will not only reduce exposure to climate risk, but also address the biodiversity crisis, resource shortages, and long-standing cycles of economic inequality.
“Though global climate change is a first-of-its-kind challenge for humanity, we know precisely what we need to do. We understand the science, and we possess the technical know-how to act at scale. We also know that the restorative power of nature can address the problem at its root, while also building local resilience — thriving mangrove forests, for example, can absorb incredible amounts of carbon, while also providing a buffer against coastal storm surge. But protecting and restoring nature can only get us so far. We need transformative change at every level of our society. That means jettisoning society’s current methods and habits of consumption. It means putting more of our best and brightest minds on solving these issues. And it means electing leaders, local and national, who see climate for the issue that it is: The one problem that will shape all others.
“We have an opportunity to build the world we wish to see — but only if we can resist the urge to despair. Despair did not take humans to the ends of this Earth, to the top of its most forbidding peaks, and into the great vacuum of space. It did not eradicate the scourge of smallpox, and it did not develop a coronavirus vaccine in mere months. Hope and action did those things, no matter how long the odds. It is that kind of hope and action that will save us.”
About Conservation International: Conservation International protects nature for the benefit of humanity. Through science, policy, fieldwork and finance, we spotlight and secure the most important places in nature for the climate, for biodiversity and for people. With offices in 30 countries and projects in more than 100 countries, Conservation International partners with governments, companies, civil society, Indigenous peoples and local communities to help people and nature thrive together. Go to Conservation.org for more, and follow our work on Conservation News,Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube.