Addressing Climate Change


The evidence of climate change is compelling: sea levels are rising, glaciers are retreating, precipitation patterns are changing, and the world is getting warmer. According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the current rate of greenhouse gas emissions is likely to cause average temperatures to rise by 0.2°C per decade, reaching by 2050 the threshold of 2°C above pre-industrial levels. Recent evidence suggests even more rapid change, which will greatly, and in some cases irreversibly, affect not just people, but also species and ecosystems. Climate change is one of four priority Thematic Programme Areas (TPA) in the IUCN Programme for2009-2012. IUCN’s climate change work focuses on bringing biodiversity considerations into climate change policy and practice. Nature can offer immediate, sustainable solutions to mitigation through capturing carbon in forests and other ecosystems. Ecosystems also play a key role in increasing the resilience and reducing the vulnerability of livelihoods in the face of climate change, for example through integrated water resource management, sustainable agriculture or coastal zone management. We also work to ensure that equity considerations, in particular the role of women and indigenous peoples, are integrated into climate change policy and practice.

This publication synthesizes information on IUCN’s work in this domain, particularly highlighting programmatic work in projects at local and national level, implemented by IUCN’s Global thematic and Regional Programmes and Commissions. It serves as an introductory “where we are at” on climate change response in some areas of our work.

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