Biodiversity continues to decline

The value of ecosystem services is estimated at $125 trillion, just a few trillion less than the world’s total GDP, yet we are failing to protect and preserve the nature and biodiversity that support ecosystem functioning. According to the 2018 Living Planet Report, two of the biggest biodiversity hotspots – freshwater and tropical ecosystems, are in the most precarious situations. Over exploitation, climate change, and pollution are taking their toll on the species-rich habitats, and in turn populations of water-dwelling animals have declined by 83% on average.

Numbers in the biannual report are estimated using The Living Planet Index, which is a measure of the state of the world’s biological diversity based on population trends of vertebrate species from terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats. A total of 4,005 species in 16,705 distinct populations are monitored across the globe. Data collected from 1970 to 2014 shows an overall decline of 60% in the population sizes of vertebrates, including mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians. Geographically, species population declines are especially pronounced in the tropics, with South and Central America suffering an 89% loss compared to 1970.

Despite worldwide recognition of the need for conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity, trends continue to decline. Moving away from a business as usual scenario will require several calculated steps: translating the aspirational vision to an ambitious goal, identifying ways to measure progress towards the goal, and identifying actions to deliver the required transformation in global biodiversity.

Read the WWF’s full report, LIVING PLANET REPORT 2018: Aiming higher.


How can climate policies be accepted politically?

How can climate policies be accepted politically?

If recent agreements show the worldwide political willingness to deal with climate change, countries’ promises have yet to be turned into practical policy designs. Carbon Taxes are widely praised by economists as the most efficient way to internalize the social impact of carbon emissions, yet their implementation is still slow. What are the barriers to their implementation and how can governments improve their policy designs? Some insights from a paper recently published.


Time to adapt: Making our life immune to climate impacts

The new IPCC report highlights the urgency for our societies to adapt to the unavoidable and rising impacts of climate change. Decision-makers worldwide recognize this need. However, when the time comes to act they are called to find their way through the plethora of tools and models designed by scientists to support decision making. Now there is a compass, calibrated by the main EU experts on climate adaptation modelling.

water security

Water Scarcity: Glaciers Sound the Alarm

Glaciers account for approximately 70% of all freshwater stored on the planet. From Latin America to the Himalayas, New Zealand and the European Alps, climate change is causing most glaciers to retreat at unprecedented rates with many experts sounding the alarm on water security.