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This important 2019 House hearing heard from five world-renowned wildlife experts about the ongoing biodiversity loss and extinction crisis. Contents: Nature in Crisis: Biodiversity Loss and its Causes * Opening Statements * Sir Robert Watson, Past Chair, Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services * Dr. Kate Brauman, Coordinating Lead Author, IPBES Global Assessment; Lead Scientist, Global Water Assessment, University of Minnesota, Institute of the Environment * Dr. James Porter, Josiah Meigs Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, University of Georgia, and Scientific Advisor, Chasing Coral * Mr. Jeff Goodwin, Conservation Stewardship Lead and Agricultural Consultant, Nobel Research Institute * Dr. Steven Monfort, Director of the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute * Answers to Post-Hearing Questions * Additional Material for the Record.
The purpose of the hearing was to discuss the major findings of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) summary for policymakers of their first Global Assessment Report. The comprehensive review found that "nature's dangerous decline is unprecedented," and that one million species - 25% of global species in assessed groups - are threatened with extinction. This report also identifies potential pathways and solutions to implement transformative change to addressing the biodiversity loss described in the report. This hearing served as an opportunity to not only discuss the findings of the report, but to identify knowledge gaps and solutions for dealing with human-driven biodiversity loss.
The IPBES Global Assessment describes the immense and varied ecosystem services that are provided to mankind as a result of biodiversity around the globe. It also outlines a profound change in global ecosystems that has accelerated aggressively in the past fifty years. IPBES explains that nature underpins all aspects of human health and the global economy, so any decline of nature's contributions to people will adversely impact human health and the economy. As the human population doubled since 1970, the global economy has grown fourfold, greatly increasing global demand for energy and materials. The Global Assessment outlines five direct drivers of biodiversity loss, in order of the largest global impact: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution; (5) invasive species. These direct drivers are primarily a result of human activity. The indirect drivers of change are underpinned by societal values and behaviors that include (1) production and consumption patterns (2) human population dynamics and trends (3) technological innovations and (4) governance (from the most local levels to the global/multinational).
The Global Assessment finds that the sustainability goals for 2030 and 2050 articulated via the Convention on Biological Diversity, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the 2050 Vision for Biodiversity cannot be met under current trajectories for continued biodiversity loss. It argues that these goals can be met only with urgent and concentrated efforts toward transformative change, which is described as a "fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic, and social factors, including paradigms, goals, and values." In addition to synthesizing the impacts of both direct and indirect drivers of biodiversity loss on our ecosystems, the Global Assessment provides approaches for sustainability and potential pathways to achieve transformative change and highlights some outstanding knowledge gaps.
This compilation includes a reproduction of the 2019 Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Community.