I am writing this amidst the current global public health crisis. We’ve shut down our economies and moved indoors in response. At ADMCF, we have been reflecting on what we can learn from this challenging moment and the role of an organisation such as ours.
This might be a 2019 Annual Report, but we cannot ignore that today, in 2020, many are experiencing previously unimagined hardships. In just five short months, life has transformed.
This has not caught us unaware, just unprepared.
Scientists had warned that 75% of new and emerging diseases were zoonotic, relating to excessive antibiotic use in humans and animals.
Governments were alerted to the health consequences of the increasing proximity between wildlife and humans from the degrading of habitats as we convert forests to agriculture.
Not paying heed, we expanded wildlife markets amidst a growing appetite for exotic species and we included ever more wildlife in traditional medicine products as markets and tastes grew.
Economic interests took precedence and our governments did little to regulate or prepare – some were even in the process of reversing protection and preparedness.
And, here we are. The impact of COVID-19 has been unprecedented.
We face an equally urgent climate crisis and again scientists have been ignored. Until the pandemic stopped us in our tracks, we were continuing our lives as normal, with greenhouse gas emissions rising steadily – 1.5 per cent per year over the last
Amidst the pandemic, estimates are that the global shutdown could bring a 6% reduction in GHG emissions this year. However, that is still not enough to move us within our planetary boundaries.
The 2019 UNEP Emissions Gap report shows that we need annual reductions of 7.6% if we are to keep global warming within 1.5 degrees of warming over pre-industrial levels. This is the level that Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) scientists have said we must not exceed.
That means the levels of ambition in the Paris Climate NDCs, the individual country commitments to GHG reductions, must increase fivefold.
To many, climate change seems a distant problem, but it is already killing people as a result of the growing number of extreme weather events. Particularly in poorer regions, where impacts are felt most, climate change often leads to food and
Not forgetting air pollution, which also kills millions of people each year.
Diseases such as malaria and dengue fever are spreading as mosquitoes move into new regions.
We need to respond to the climate crisis the way the world is responding to COVID-19, where governments are swiftly pushing through multibillion dollar or trillion-dollar stimulus packages.
We need similar massive funding action to transition our energy sources to renewables, which are now cheap enough and available.
We need political will to push through new regulatory systems to make that change and to confront the coal and oil interests that keep us hooked on fossil fuel.
We need to incentivise low-carbon construction, retrofitting of buildings to be energy efficient, and new public transport systems that disincentivise personal combustion engine cars.
We must transform agriculture, which is responsible for about one-third of GHG emissions.
This is an emergency that requires far greater planning, resolve and commitment than the COVID-19 pandemic.
We need policy makers, financiers and companies to learn from the current moment and pivot to climate emergency, which will be much longer lasting and consequential with no vaccine or cure.
As a Foundation, we see our role in generating research, knowledge and collective action to stem the illegal wildlife trade, to protect our climate and biodiversity, to promote clean air, clean water and healthy seas, and to seed thoughts on new business models that protect our lands.
We aim for our programmes to stimulate the transition towards a healthier planet, balancing conservation and protection with economic needs, while advancing human well-being.
Thank you for joining us.
Read our 2019 Annual Report here.