Press release from March 13th, 2009

Seven recommendations from Aarhus to COP15!

More than 1.000 prominent representatives from science, industry, policy and NGO’s have been gathered in Aarhus for the international climate conference "Beyond Kyoto: Addressing the Challenges of Climate Change".

More than 1.000 prominent representatives from science, industry, policy and NGO’s have been gathered in Aarhus

More than 1.000 prominent representatives from science, industry, policy and NGO’s have been gathered in Aarhus for the international climate conference "Beyond Kyoto: Addressing the Challenges of Climate Change"
Photo: Søren Stenkjær Kjeldgaard, AU Photo

The Aarhus University sponsored conference aimed at creating dialogue and knowledge transfer between the many conference participants and - according to head of conference Professor Ellen Margrethe Basse - Beyond Kyoto was very successful in doing so: "I am very pleased with the outcome of this conference, which will undoubtedly contribute significantly to the future climate debate not to mention deliver substantial inputs to COP15".

In a unique way the heads of conference theme sessions have delivered 7 important statements from Beyond Kyoto. `The 7 Aarhus Statements on Climate Change´ was presented at the end of the conference and on Monday the Aarhus Statements will be forwarded to a series of prominent Danish ministers - including Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Minister for Climate and Energy Connie Hedegaard.

  1. Climate Policy:
    All sectors of society must be involved in future climate solutions
  2. Biodiversity and Ecosystems:
    Biodiversity must be an integrated part of the general mitigation and adaptation effort
    more information about `Biodiversity and Ecosystems´
  3. Agriculture and Climate Change:
    We must increase agricultural productivity to use less water and land
  4. Nanotechnology Solutions:
    Nanotechnology will lead us to the next industrial revolution and provide the technological breakthroughs in developing sustainable energy solutions
  5. Citizens and Society:
    The COP15 should include the commitments of the Aarhus Convention and include incentives for empowering participation of the citizens
  6. The Arctic:
    Ensure a sustainable development in collaboration with local population in affected areas
  7. Integrated Energy Solutions:
    Establish a new carbon currency which directly stimulates use of new fossil free technologies

For further information:

Head of conference
Professor Ellen Margrethe Basse
Mobile: +45 23261829


Head of press relations at Aarhus University
Anders Correll
Mobile: +45 2899 2235

Theme 2: Biodiversity and ecosystems

Biodiversity needs to be an integrated part of the general climate change mitigation and adaptation effort

Climate change (CC) constitutes a major threat to Earth’s biodiversity

Currently, biodiversity is under negative pressure from land-use, biological invasions, and pollution. As a result, numerous species are threatened with extinction, for example, 25% of the World’s about 5,500 mammal species. Over the next 100 years CC will constitute an additional pressure, with potentially severe impacts. CC is already affecting ecosystems and biodiversity globally, causing changes in ecosystem functioning, species abundances, and species ranges. With an increase in global mean temperature of just >1.5-2.5°C 20-30% of the species studied may experience an increased risk of extinction.

Although strong losses are unavoidable if the climate change is not strongly curtailed beyond business-as-usual expectations, the CC impact will strong depend on interactions with other pressures, notably land-use. Key adaptation strategies are:

  1. Reducing other pressures on biodiversity: A key adaptation strategy would be decreasing other pressures on biodiversity (habitat loss etc) to increase resilience to CC. It is therefore crucial that CC mitigation and adaptation (especially in land-use, e.g., biofuel crops) should be implemented in ways that alleviates rather puts additional negative pressure on biodiversity.
  2. CC-integrated conservation planning: Maintain viable, connected and genetically diverse populations by a variety of means (expand reserve systems, design of reserve systems to be robust to CC, CC-off-setting local management (controlled burning to reduce fuel loads ect.), captive breeding, assisted migration/translocation, engineering new habitats etc).

Forest conservation including Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation (REDD) constitute a major and cost-effective CC mitigation opportunity

Biodiversity and in particular forests also constitute a major part of the solution to the CC problem. Emissions from land use change, especially tropical deforestation, contribute to ~20% of total anthropogenic CHG emissions. A important facet of CC mitigation is therefore forest conservation including reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation in developing countries (REDD), especially in relation to carbon- and biodiversity-rich tropical forests. By reducing pressure on tropical forests, REDD is also likely to have direct benefits for biodiversity. Afforestation/reforestation can also contribute importantly to carbon sequestration and reduce pressure on forest biodiversity. To realize this key mitigation, it is absolutely crucial that economic structures providing incentives for forest conservation are implemented.
Key point: Biodiversity needs to be an integrated part of the CC mitigation and adaptation effort
CC adaptation and mitigation in other sectors can have positive, neutral, or negative impacts on biodiversity. Synergies could be promoted by formulating integrated policies cross-linking major UN conventions, notably UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) and CBD (Convention on Biological Diversity).

At the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) scientists research the causes and consequences of far-reaching environmental changes. They study water resources, biological diversity, the consequences of climate change and adaptation possibilities, environmental and biotechnologies, bio energy, the behaviour of chemicals in the environment and their effect on health, as well as modelling and social science issues. Their guiding research principle is supporting the sustainable use of natural resources and helping to secure these basic requirements of life over the long term under the influence of global change. The UFZ employs 900 people at its sites in Leipzig, Halle and Magdeburg. It is funded by the German government and by the states of Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt.

The Helmholtz Association helps solve major, pressing challenges facing society, science and the economy with top scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Structure of Matter, Transport and Space. With 25,700 employees in 15 research centres and an annual budget of around EUR 2.3 billion, the Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Its work follows in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).