Prof. Dr. Josef Settele, an agricultural biologist at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Halle and lead author of reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, clarifies the interactions between global warming, biodiversity and humans in an interview with BR. Climate protection and species conservation must be tackled together. After all, our livelihoods are also affected when species disappear and ecosystems are impaired.
Global warming is progressing so rapidly that many plant and animal species will not be able to adapt to the new living conditions in this short time. For example, flowering and pollinators may drift apart if plants flower earlier than pollinating insects are active. In turn, declining pollinator performance leads to crop losses in orchards, for example.
Intact ecosystems such as peatlands and forests are important for climate protection because they store large quantities of carbon dioxide. With rising temperatures, trees and green spaces in cities are also playing an increasingly important role in the health of the population. Green spaces and unsealed areas can contribute to flood protection.
Prof. Settele was awarded the EuroNature Prize 2021 for his commitment to species conservation and his expertise in the World Biodiversity Council (IPBES).