AboutZoos, Since 2008


Explor­ing struc­tural changes in pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion to reduce bio­di­ver­sity loss

pub­lished 24 Decem­ber 2010 | mod­i­fied 03 Jan­u­ary 2012

Loss of bio­di­ver­sity can­not be stopped in the next 40 years, accord­ing to Dutch sci­en­tists. How­ever, the good news is that a set of dras­tic mea­sures can decrease the global loss of bio­di­ver­sity by 50 per­cent between now and 2050.

This is the main con­clu­sion of the work car­ried out by the Nether­lands Envi­ron­men­tal Assess­ment Agency, and pub­lished today. The reportwas pre­sented to the Dutch min­is­ter of Agri­cul­ture, who together with the UNEP (United Nations Envi­ron­ment Pro­gramme) com­mis­sioned the research which focuses on the nec­es­sary mea­sures to reduce the global bio­di­ver­sity loss. Spe­cial atten­tion is given to the pos­si­ble strate­gies which lead to struc­tural changes in pro­duc­tion and consumption.

The next 40 years the demand for food, energy and clean water will rise dra­mat­i­cally. The world pop­u­la­tion will grow from 6.8 to 9 bil­lion peo­ple and the dis­pos­able income per per­son will increase. Agri­cul­ture and urban­iza­tion will com­pete with nature for the same land. This will affect bio­log­i­cal diver­sity. It will fur­ther decrease, because of loss of nature, but also because of over­ex­ploita­tion, frag­men­ta­tion and dis­rup­tion of ecosys­tems, cli­mate change and pol­lu­tion of soil, water and air. This impairs ecosys­tem ser­vices like soil fer­til­ity, water reg­u­la­tion and car­bon seques­tra­tion. These are good rea­sons to pro­tect our remain­ing bio­di­ver­sity as of today. In addi­tion, many see the preser­va­tion of bio­di­ver­sity and the preser­va­tion of valu­able nature as a moral respon­si­bil­ity of mankind.

Though essen­tial, the pro­tec­tion of valu­able nat­ural areas is not suf­fi­cient to reduce loss of bio­di­ver­sity. To slow down the rate of bio­di­ver­sity loss sig­nif­i­cantly, struc­tural changes in con­sump­tion and pro­duc­tion are nec­es­sary. There is much to be gained by reduc­ing meat con­sump­tion. In addi­tion, changes are required in agri­cul­ture, forestry, fish­eries and the energy sup­ply system.

The mea­sures men­tioned in the report are nei­ther new or unique, but the quan­ti­ta­tive analy­sis of the effects of the options are novel. The options which have been researched can be found in many stud­ies, for instance in the Global Bio­di­ver­sity Out­look 3 of the sec­re­tari­ate of the Con­ven­tion on Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity. The Dutch sci­en­tists avoided to be too ambitous in their analy­sis and took a fea­si­ble per­spec­tive as their goal.

The report will be pre­sented to Achim Steiner, Exec­u­tive Direc­tor van UNEP, dur­ing the next UN-​meeting on bio­di­ver­sity (COP10, Con­fer­ence of the Par­ties to the Con­ven­tion of Bio­log­i­cal Diver­sity), 18 to 29 Octo­ber in Nagoya, Japan.

(Source: web­site Plan­bu­reau voor de Leefomgev­ing, 05.10.2010)

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