Society for Conservation Biology

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Climate Change

Defining the Issue

There is growing evidence that climate change is already affecting biodiversity around the world and is anticipated to threaten countless species with extinction in the years to come. SCB promotes policies at the state, federal, and international level to mitigate the future impacts of climate change, and to ensure that biological diversity is properly considered in adaptation strategies in response to climate change.

How SCB Works on Climate Change Issues

SCB has contributed technical assistance, provided testimony for Congressional briefings, and prepared formal statements for climate negotiations. In comments to, and in meetings with state, national, and international agencies, SCB has recommended ways to use existing laws to reduce the underlying drivers of climate change. Through all of this, we have worked to ensure that measures to address climate change are carried out in a manner that also enhances the preservation and conservation of biological diversity.

Highlighted Activity: SCB Climate Policy Principles

Inspired by interest expressed by SCB leaders from around the world who attended our annual conference and climate change workshops in Beijing of 2009, SCB’s Policy Director and Committee worked on distilling SCB's previous work into a set of climate policy principles. The basic message of the climate policy principles is that that we now have evidence that whole rainforests can die faster than they grow (as occurred in 2005 in the Brazilian Amazon), leading to a net release of carbon dioxide. Because of the importance of forests as both a sink for carbon dioxide and a provider of many ecosystem services, we do not have any significant room left for additional greenhouse gas emissions, and we must begin reduce them now. These principles were presented to climate change negotiators, legislators, and executive agency decision-makers, including the U.S. Congressional Research Service, the staff of the Speaker of the House, and the White House Council on Environmental Quality. In late 2010 and again in 2011, we augmented our initiatial 2009 climate policy principles, and devlived a revised version to the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Read the 2009 climate policy principles here.

Read SCB's 2010 Climate Statement for the Cancun Conference of the Parties here.

Read SCB's 2011 Forest Declaration for the United Nations Year of the Forest at the Durban Conference of the Parties here.

How You Can Get Involved

SCB has begun to assemble volunteer task forces of SCB members to help the society address each of its five policy priorities.  If you would like to volunteer to work on SCB’s Climate Change task force, please contact the policy director.

Additional Resources