Navigating transformation of biodiversity and climate

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Science Advances  27 Nov 2019:
Vol. 5, no. 11, eaba0969
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aba0969

Pablo A. Marquet

Shahid Naeem

Jeremy B. C. Jackson

Kip Hodges

Biology must become central to climate change science and policy formulation. The planet does not work just as a physical system; that reality needs to become fundamental to the way we pursue the science and derive policy recommendations.—Thomas E. Lovejoy (1)

This planet is the home of life, born into existence and transformed over 3.8 billion years into a continuous tapestry, covering all possible places from the deep ocean floors to mountain summits. Ours is a bioclimatic world in which every organism, from bacterium to blue whale, inseparably contributes to the climate and surface conditions of Earth. This tapestry, of which we are a part, is unraveling, with its delicate patterns and motifs denigrated to near invisibility, disappearing at a rate and magnitude that rivals that of the great mass extinction events of the past (2, 3). This fading to nonexistence is making us unfortunate witnesses to the accumulated consequences of human actions over the past 10,000 years. Happily, though, we are now increasingly empowered by science and can act to abate ongoing trends and protect planetary resources before the essential threads of life’s coherence become completely eroded.

Each year since 1995, participants in the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meet as a Conference of the Parties (COP) to determine how best to address the increasingly harmful changes now taking place. This Special Collection of articles has been timed to coincide with the COP25 meeting scheduled to be held in Spain this year. The Collection provides comprehensive review articles and original research by leading authorities on recent advances in the study of interactions between biodiversity and climate that deepen our understanding of bioclimatic changes and can provide guidance on how best …

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