Impact of climate change debated at All Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity

Regional manager, David Matthews, was at the last meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Biodiversity on behalf of Nancy Thomson, Thomson Ecology’s chief executive, who is a standing member of the Group. The meeting was held at the House of Commons and was chaired by Barry Gardiner, MP. David was impressed by the arguments and here he shares some of his notes on the discussion.

Professor Alex Rogers, Oxford University, talked about the sensitivity of the marine environment to increasing levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Conditions in our oceans today of increased warming, acidification and oxygen depletion in deep waters were present during major extinction events in the past. The current situation, coupled with a lack of knowledge of the marine environment, is a major threat to biodiversity worldwide.

Professor Chris Thomas, University of York spoke of further evidence that climate change is having a profound impact on biodiversity, stating that many UK terrestrial fauna are inexorably moving north some five metres a day on average – very much in line with the prediction of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC).

The spread of so-called invasive species is generally thought to impact biodiversity and many people are in favour of greater control. However, Professor Thomas suggested that the attitude to controlling invasive species was questionable, and that people should perhaps be more relaxed about the inevitability of invasion.

Additional presentations on climate change and biodiversity were given by Dr Natalie Pettorelli, Institute of Zoology at the Zoological Society of London and Dr Mike Morecroft, Head of Profession, Climate Change, at Natural England. All the evidence is that the ecological changes we’re seeing both in the UK and worldwide are in line with predictions from the IPPC. To preserve biodiversity and the services we require from nature, we need to focus environmental policies and conservation efforts on the adaptation and resilience of ecosystems to climate change.

Zac Goldsmith MP, Lord Oxburgh and Caroline Spelman MP also attended the meeting.

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