Seven Key Things to Know About ‘Negative Emissions’
By Jan Minx, Dr. Sabine Fuss and Gregory Nemet
This cognitive dissonance has seen the topic of "negative emissions"—also known as "carbon dioxide removal"—move into the limelight in climate science and policy discussions.
Increasingly, the only way to bridge the growing gap between short and long-term climate policy ambition appears to be developing the ability to remove billions of tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere and store it on land, underground, or in the oceans.
Yet, the current knowledge on negative emissions technologies (NETs) is diffuse and incomplete. This makes it hard for assessment bodies, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), to evaluate the state of knowledge.
In a three-part literature review, published in Environmental Research Letters, we did some of the leg work and systematically assessed what we know and do not know about NETs. We presented our findings at last week's international conference on negative emissions.
Here are seven central insights from our three papers.
1. Carbon dioxide removal should not be framed as geoengineering.
While NETs address the root cause of climate change by reducing atmospheric CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere, SRM approaches do not. Instead, they aim to reduce some of the worst impacts of climate change temporarily by reflecting incoming solar radiation.
Minx et al. (2018)
Schematic illustrating the causal chain of climate change (upper panel) and response options (lower panel). Response options can be divided into mitigation of anthropogenic emissions and direct removal of CO2, which would reduce the heat trapping greenhouse gases, modification of solar radiation, which directly interferes with Earth system reflectivity, and adaptation to climate impacts.
Other important differences include the novel global risks associated with SRM, the different time scales at which NETs and SRM operate, and distinct governance challenges.
It is more appropriate to consider the way human society responds to climate change in four ways: mitigation, adaptation, carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and SRM, as laid out in the schematic above. The last two need to be strictly distinguished from each other and not combined together under the label geoengineering.
2. The literature on NETs is growing rapidly and diversifying.
Overall, the core literature on NETs covers more than 2,000 studies, but is growing exponentially. You can see this in the upper chart below, which shows the accelerating body of work on NETs and the mix of literature on different technologies.
In line with the broad definition of "mitigation" by the IPCC, research initially focused mainly on enhancing natural sinks—such as afforestation and reforestation, soil carbon sequestration, as well as ocean fertilization.
Explicit discussions about NETs only started during the fourth assessment cycle of the IPCC, from 2001 to 2007, with the emergence of literature on NETs driven by the integrated assessment modeling community. In the fifth assessment report, completed in 2014, NETs were discussed individually and we now have a distinct body of literature for each NET. The lower chart below shows how the literature on NETs in the IPCC reports has diversified with time.
Minx et al. (2018)
Bar charts display the coverage of NETs in the different assessment cycles of the IPCC. Over time more and more NETs are treated both in the literature as well as in IPCC assessments.
3. Modeling scenarios depend on negative emissions for 1.5 C goal, but not for 2 C.
Of all the different de-carbonization scenarios considered in our review that succeed in keeping global warming to no more than 1.5 C above pre-industrial levels, not one achieves the goal without some form of NETs. Total deployment until 2100 is associated with a cumulative removal from 150 gigatonnes of CO2 (Gt CO2) to be beyond 1,000.
There are some recent scenarios that limit the deployment of NETs to the range of 150-200Gt CO2 over the course of the 21st century. For example, a study published earlier this year showed that NETs can only be avoided theoretically for carbon budgets of 60Gt CO2 and larger.
Yet, such a low deployment can only be achieved in these models at the expense of radical assumptions regarding the timing and pace of global decarbonization. This does not reflect the current status of international climate diplomacy and existing national commitments to cutting emissions, known as "nationally determined contributions" (NDCs).
The figure below shows that with a larger carbon budget for 2 C, the deployment on NETs can still be avoided while meeting this goal, but the door is closing rapidly. It shows how many models can meet the 2C and 1.5C limits with varying amounts of bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). For example, no models can meet the 1.5C limit (right-hand section of figure) if there are any constraints on the use of BECCS.
Unless NDCs are made substantially more stringent, the pathways to 2 C by 2030 will be similar to current pathways for 1.5 C in that they will depend on very large deployments of NETs.
Fuss et al. (2018).
Model feasibility for different climate targets with immediate or delayed start of global climate action and different degrees of constraining BECCS. (Note: based on REMIND model runs by Luderer et al (2013).
4. How society develops is crucial for the amount of NETs needed.
The extent of the challenge to mitigate emissions and adapt to climate change is determined, to a large degree, by socioeconomic conditions in the future.
Yet, how such variations affect the prospects for meeting climate goals has been explored systematically only very recently through comparisons of the "shared socioeconomic pathways" (SSPs)—a set of alternative futures that examine how global society, demographics and economics might change over the next century.
The figure below shows that the prevailing conditions have a major effect on NETs dependence. For example, we see much less NETs deployment in scenarios that unfold along a sustainability narrative (SSP1— shaded green)—with higher levels of education and urbanization, lower population levels and less inequality within and between countries.
Data in the left panel is taken from Rogelj et al. (2018)
Left panel shows the amount of CO2 removed in different Shared Socio-Economic Pathways (SSPs). Right panel gives an overview of the SSPs and where they are located along the dimensions of challenges to mitigation and adaptation.
There is an important implication. We rightly think a lot about how climate policies can reduce emissions within a given socioeconomic pathway. But future social and economic conditions are not set in stone.
We therefore need to think much more about how we can transition between alternative future worlds, for example, from a fossil-fuel intensive world (e.g. "SSP5") towards one characterised by sustainable development (e.g. "SSP1"). The required non-climate policies to develop sustainably would greatly ease the burden on mitigation and, crucially, would limit dependence on large-scale use of NETs.
5. Most NETs show potential for large-scale deployment, but all have limits.
In principle, NETs are feasible at a range of costs and with at least partially proven technology, but not at unlimited scale and not quickly. Many NETs also have high uncertainties regarding their wider impacts.
However, to ascertain the total potential of all NETs, it is not as simple as adding them together. Some NETs compete with one another—for land, water, bioenergy or safe geological storage, for example.
The graphic below summarizes the maturity, potential, cost, side-effects and permanence of seven different NETs. The central panel shows how much CO2 each NET could potentially remove from the atmosphere (x axis) and at what cost (y axis).
Minx et al. (2018)
NETs and their major features including costs, deployment potentials, side-effects, permanence of storage as well as development status. Deployment potentials in the central panel are not additive. List of side-effects is not exhaustive.
In addition, realizing the potential of each NET will require reliable institutions that incentivise good governance and practice across the globe.
This may constrain the ability to reach the higher end of deployment ranges—particularly for afforestation and soil carbon sequestration, where the cheapest options and largest potentials are often especially prominent in regions with weak institutions.
At the more expensive end, BECCS and direct air carbon capture and storage (DACCS) may have larger overall potentials and provide more reliable long-term storage, but show substantially higher costs and are currently in an earlier stage of the innovation process.
Our review also suggests that it would be difficult—and unwise—to try to meet the need to remove CO2 with one NET alone. It is, therefore, prudent to think about a NETs portfolio, with each deployed at more modest scales and, consequently, with more manageable risks.
In fact, there may be a "natural order" of NETs deployment that arises from considerations of costs, potentials, effectiveness, availability as well as safe and permanent storage.
For example, an initial phase-in could use some of the land-based options, such as afforestation or soil carbon sequestration, which are readily available, comparatively cheap and more easily reversible, but suffer from saturation in the long-run and are harder to manage on a large scale. Technological options, such as BECCS and DACCS, could be phased in later and provide the required additional potentials once they are ready.
6. Adverse side effects of BECCS relate specifically to bioenergy.
BECCS has come under scrutiny for its need for large land areas on which the biomass would be cultivated. There is concern that it could interfere with food security or safeguarding terrestrial ecosystems. But are these concerns really related to BECCS?
To answer this question, we need to compare bioenergy uptake in model scenarios with and without BECCS.
The chart below shows what this reveals: that overall bioenergy deployment is as high with BECCS (blue line and shading) as it is without (red line and shading). In some non-BECCS scenarios, bioenergy upscaling is even more rapid. This is because bioenergy is a versatile technology that has applications across a whole range of sectoral mitigation options.
In the scenarios without BECCS, bioenergy is applied in difficult-to-decarbonise sectors, such as transport, which otherwise could be compensated for via negative emissions.
Hence, limiting BECCS deployment may not be effective in terms of securing sustainable levels of bioenergy use. Instead, once sustainable bioenergy policies are in place, the particular bioenergy pathways are less of a concern including BECCS.
Minx et al. (2018)
Figure shows baseline scenarios (grey), scenarios with all mitigation options including BECCS (blue) and scenarios excluding BECCS (red), which have higher biomass consumption than the blue and grey ones.
7. A big gap exists between R&D of NETs and actual deployment.
While we are seeing a burst of new literature on NETs, the overwhelming majority focuses on early-stage research. But bringing new technologies to widespread adoption typically requires a sequence of activities beyond research and development, including demonstration projects and serving niche markets, followed by a gradual process of scaling up to a larger market.
Along the way, new technologies face an array of issues, including convincing sceptical "early adopters" and challenges in public acceptance. There is little NETs literature on these later stages and the entire process has typically taken decades to play out for other technologies.
Compared with other low-carbon technologies, for example, it is clear that NETs still have the bulk of their development pathways in front of them.
The graphic below shows solar photovoltaics (PV) as an analogue. The first commercial application was in 1957 and it took 60 years to get to low cost PV. Yet, we are still a couple of decades away from widespread adoption—say 10-30 percent—of the global energy supply.
William Lamb based on Nemet et al.
Schematic illustrating the analogue of solar PV upscaling applied to Direct Air Carbon Capture, revealing a huge time gap in deployment for 1.5C relevance.
Applying this timeline to DACCS would suggest that we will not provide the technology at scale in time to be relevant for climate change. We, therefore, need to think more actively about speeding up innovation for NETs.
A prerequisite is, thus, a more open discussion of accelerating innovation in NETs—both in the literature and in climate policy debates.
Prof. Jan Minx is head of the applied sustainability science working group at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change and Priestley Chair of climate change and public policy at the University of Leeds; Dr. Sabine Fuss is head of the sustainable resource management and global change working group at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change; and Prof. Gregory Nemet is associate professor of public affairs and environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.
Reposted with permission from our media associate Carbon Brief.
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As Biden Embraces More Ambitious Climate Plan, Fossil Fuel Execs Donate to Trump 'With Greater Zeal' Than in 2016
By Jake Johnson
With presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden's climate platform becoming increasingly ambitious thanks to nonstop grassroots pressure, fossil fuel executives and lobbyists are pouring money into the coffers of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign in the hopes of keeping an outspoken and dedicated ally of dirty energy in the White House.
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The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is now warning against more than 100 potentially dangerous hand sanitizers.
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While the nation overall struggles with rising COVID cases, New York State is seeing the opposite. After peaking in March and April and implementing strict shutdowns of businesses, the state has seen its number of positive cases steadily decline as it slowly reopens. From coast-to-coast, Governor Andrew Cuomo's response to the crisis has been hailed as an exemplar of how to handle a public health crisis.
By Gavin Naylor
Sharks elicit outsized fear, even though the risk of a shark bite is infinitesimally small. As a marine biologist and director of the Florida Program for Shark Research, I oversee the International Shark Attack File – a global record of reported shark bites that has been maintained continuously since 1958.
A Big, Diverse Family<p>Not all sharks are the same. Only a dozen or so of the roughly 520 shark species pose any risk to people. Even the three species that account for almost all shark bite fatalities – the <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/carcharodon-carcharias/" target="_blank">white shark</a> (<em>Carcharodon carcharias</em>), <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/galeocerdo-cuvier/" target="_blank">tiger shark</a> (<em>Galeocerdo cuvier</em>) and <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/carcharhinus-leucas/" target="_blank">bull shark</a> (<em>Carcharhinus leucas</em>) – are behaviorally and evolutionarily very different from one another.</p><p>The tiger shark and bull shark are genetically as different from each other as a dog is from a rabbit. And both of these species are about as different from a white shark as a dog is from a kangaroo. The evolutionary lineages leading to the two groups split 170 million years ago, during the age of dinosaurs and before the origin of birds, and <a href="https://www.ck12.org/book/CK-12-Human-Biology/section/7.2/" target="_blank">110 million years before the origin of primates</a>.</p>
White, tiger and bull sharks are distinct species that diverged genetically tens of millions of years ago. Gavin Naylor / CC BY-ND<p>Yet many people assume all sharks are alike and equally likely to bite humans. Consider the term "shark attack," which is scientifically equivalent to "mammal attack." Nobody would equate dog bites with hamster bites, but this is exactly what we do when it comes to sharks.</p><p>So, when a reporter calls me about a fatality caused by a white shark off Cape Cod and asks my advice for beachgoers in North Carolina, it's essentially like asking, "A man was killed by a dog on Cape Cod. What precautions should people take when dealing with kangaroos in North Carolina?"</p>
Know Your Species<p>Understanding local species' behavior and life habits is one of the best ways to stay safe. For example, almost all shark bites that occur off Cape Cod are by white sharks, which are a large, primarily cold-water species that spend most of their time in isolation feeding on fishes. But they also aggregate near seal colonies that provide a reliable food source at certain times of the year.</p><p>Shark bites in the Carolinas are by warm-water species like bull sharks, tiger sharks and <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/carcharhinus-limbatus/" target="_blank">blacktips</a> (<em>Carcharhinus limbatus</em>). Each species is associated with particular habitats and dietary preferences.</p><p>Blacktips, which we suspect are responsible for most relatively minor bites on humans in the southeastern United States, feed on schooling bait fishes like menhaden. In contrast, bull sharks are equally at home in fresh water and salt water, and are often found near estuaries. Their bites are more severe than those of blacktips, as they are larger, more powerful, bolder and more tenacious. Several fatalities have been ascribed to bull sharks.</p><p>Tiger sharks are also large, and are responsible for a significant fraction of fatalities, particularly off the coast of volcanic islands like Hawaii and Reunion. They are tropical animals that often venture into shallow water frequented by swimmers and surfers.</p>
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Humans Are Not Targets<p>Sharks do not "hunt" humans. Data from the International Shark Attack File compiled over the past 60 years show a tight association between shark bites and the number of people in the water. In other words, shark bites are a simple function of the probability of encountering a shark.</p><p>This underscores the fact that shark bites are almost always cases of mistaken identity. If sharks actively hunted people, there would be many more bites, since humans make very easy targets when they swim in sharks' natural habitats.</p><p>Local conditions can also affect the risk of an attack. Encounters are more likely when sharks venture closer to shore, into areas where people are swimming. They may do this because they are following bait fishes or seals upon which they prey.</p><p>This means we can use environmental variables such as temperature, tide or weather conditions to better predict movement of bait fish toward the shoreline, which in turn will predict the presence of sharks. Over the next few years, the Florida Program for Shark Research will work with colleagues at other universities to monitor onshore and offshore movements of tagged sharks and their association with environmental variables so that we can improve our understanding of what conditions bring sharks close to shore.</p>
More to Know<p>There still is much to learn about sharks, especially the 500 or so species that have never been implicated in a bite on humans. One example is the tiny <a href="https://www.newsweek.com/one-worlds-rarest-sharks-also-one-most-adorable-325280" target="_blank">deep sea pocket shark</a>, which has a strange pouch behind its pectoral fins.</p><p>Only two specimens of this type of shark have ever been caught – one off the coast of Chile 30 years ago, and another more recently in the Gulf of Mexico. We're not sure about the function of the pouch, but suspect it stores luminous fluid that is released to distract would-be predators – much as its close relative, the <a href="https://sharkdevocean.wordpress.com/2015/04/23/second-ever-pocket-shark-discovered-in-gulf-of-mexico/" target="_blank">tail light shark</a>, releases luminous fluid from a gland on its underside near its vent.</p>
<span style="display:block;position:relative;padding-top:56.25%;" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="5783b39d0838d6e410344a852ed0dcc3"><iframe lazy-loadable="true" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/UTO5debfmsg?rel=0" width="100%" height="auto" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" style="position:absolute;top:0;left:0;width:100%;height:100%;"></iframe></span><p>Sharks range in form from the bizarre <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/mitsukurina-owstoni/" target="_blank">goblin shark</a> (<em>Mitsukurina owstoni</em>), most commonly encountered in Japan, to the gentle filter-feeding <a href="https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/rhincodon-typus/" target="_blank">whale shark</a> (<em>Rhincodon typus</em>). Although whale sharks are the largest fishes in the world, we have yet to locate their nursery grounds, which are likely teeming with thousands of <a href="https://www.earthtouchnews.com/oceans/sharks/baby-whale-shark-rescued-from-gillnet-in-india-video/" target="_blank">foot-long pups</a>. Some deepwater sharks are primarily known from submersibles, such as the giant <a href="https://twitter.com/gavinnaylor/status/1146144452681113601" target="_blank">sixgill shark</a>, which feeds mainly on carrion but probably also preys on other animals in the deep sea.</p><p>Sharks seem familiar to almost all of us, but we know precious little about them. Our current understanding of their biology barely scratches the surface. The little we do know suggests they are profoundly different from other vertebrate animals. They've had 400 million years of independent evolution to adapt to their environments, and it's reasonable to expect they may be hiding more than a few tricks up their gills.</p>
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Current efforts to curb an infectious disease show the potential we have for collective action. That action and more will be needed if we want to stem the coming wave of heat-related deaths that will surpass the number of people who die from all infectious diseases, according to a new study, as The Guardian reported.
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By Jenny Morber
Caribbean corals sprout off Texas. Pacific salmon tour the Canadian Arctic. Peruvian lowland birds nest at higher elevations.
Known and anticipated changes in species distribution due to climate change around the world have implications for culture, society ecosystems, governance and climate change. Figure used with permission from Gretta T. Pecl, originally published on 31 Mar 2017 in Science 355(6332).<p>How we define species is critical, because these definitions influence perceptions, policy and management. The U.S. National Invasive Species Council (NISC) defines a biological invasion as "the process by which non-native species breach biogeographical barriers and extend their range" and states that "preventing the introduction of potentially harmful organisms is … the first line of defense." But some say excluding newcomers is myopic.</p><p>"If you were trying to maintain the status quo, so every time a new species comes in, you chuck it out," says Camille Parmesan, director of the French National Centre for Scientific Research, you could gradually "lose so many that that ecosystem will lose its coherence." If climate change is driving native species extinct, she says, "you need to allow new ones coming in to take over those same functions."</p><p>As University of Florida conservation ecologist Brett Scheffers and Pecl warned in a <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-019-0526-5" target="_blank">2019 paper in <em>Nature Climate Change</em></a>, "past management of redistributed species … has yielded mixed actions and results." They concluded that "we cannot leave the fate of biodiversity critical to human survival to be randomly persecuted, protected or ignored."</p>
Existing Tools<p>One approach to managing these climate-driven habitat shifts, suggested by University of California, Irvine marine ecologist Piper Wallingford and colleagues in <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41558-020-0768-2" target="_blank">a recent issue of Nature Climate Change</a>, is for scientists to adapt existing tools like the <a href="https://www.iucn.org/theme/species/our-work/invasive-species/eicat" target="_blank">Environmental Impact Classification of Alien Taxa (EICAT)</a> to assess potential risks associated with moving species. Because range-shifting species pose impacts to communities similar to those of species introduced by humans, the authors argue, new management strategies are unnecessary, and each new arrival can be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.</p><p>Karen Lips, a professor of biology at University of Maryland who was not associated with the study, echoes the idea that each case is so varied and nuanced that trying to fit climate shifting species into a single category with broad management goals may be impractical. "Things may be fine today, but add a new mosquito vector or add a new tick or a new disease, and all of a sudden things spiral out of control," she says. "The nuance means that the answer to any particular problem might be pretty different."</p>
In recent years, northern flying squirrels in Canada have found themselves in the company of new neighbors — southern flying squirrels expanding their range as the climate warms. Public Domain / USFW<p>Laura Meyerson, a professor in the Department of Natural Resources Science at the University of Rhode Island says scientists should use existing tools to identify and address invasive species to deal with climate-shifting species. "I would like to operate under the precautionary principle and then reevaluate as things shift. You're sort of shifting one piece in this machinery; as you insert a new species into a system, everything is going to respond," she says. "Will some of the species that are expanding their ranges because of climate change become problematic? Perhaps they might."</p><p>The reality is that some climate-shifting species may be harmful to some conservation or economic goals while being helpful to others. While sport fisherman are excited about red snapper moving down the East Coast of Australia, for example, if they eat juvenile lobsters in Tasmania they could harm this environmentally and economically important crustacean. "At the end of the day … you're going to have to look at whether that range expansion has some sort of impact and presumably be more concerned about the negative impacts," says NISC executive director Stas Burgiel. "Many of the [risk assessment] tools we have are set up to look at negative impact." As a result, positive effects may be deemphasized or overlooked. "So that notion of cost versus benefit … I don't think it has played out in this particular context."</p>
Location, Location, Location<p>In a <a href="https://www-nature-com.ezp3.lib.umn.edu/articles/s41558-020-0770-8" target="_blank">companion paper</a> to Wallingford's, University of Connecticut ecology and evolutionary biology associate professor Mark Urban stressed key differences between invasive species, which are both non-native and harmful, and what he calls "climate tracking species." Whereas invasive species originate from places very unlike the communities they overtake, he says, climate tracking species expand from largely similar environments, seeking to follow preferred conditions as these environments move. For example, an American pika may relocate to a higher mountain elevation, or a marbled salamander might expand its New England range northward to seek cooler temperatures, but these new locations are not drastically different than the places they had called home before.</p><p>Climate tracking species may move faster than their competitors at first, Urban says, but competing species will likely catch up. "Applying perspectives from invasion biology to climate-tracking species … arbitrarily chooses local winners over colonizing losers," he writes.</p>
The marbled salamander, a native of the eastern U.S., is among species whose range could expand northward to accommodate rising temperatures. Seánín Óg / Flickr / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0<p>Urban stresses that if people prevent range shifts, some climate-tracking species may have nowhere to go. He suggests that humans should even <a href="https://ensia.com/features/time-for-trees-to-pack-their-trunks/" target="_blank">facilitate movement</a> as the planet warms. "The goal in this crazy warming world is to keep everything alive. But it may not be in the same place," Urban says.</p><p>Parmesan echoes Urban, emphasizing it's the distance that makes the difference. "[Invasives] come from a different continent or a different ocean. You're having these enormous trans-global movements and that's what ends up causing the species that's exotic to be invasive," she says. "Things moving around with climate change is a few hundred miles. Invasive species are moving a few thousand miles."</p><p>In 2019 University of Vienna conservation biology associate professor Franz Essl published a similar argument for species classification beyond the native/non-native dichotomy. Essl uses "neonatives" to refer to species that have expanded outside their native areas and established populations because of climate change but not direct human agency. He argues that these species should be considered as native in their new range.</p>
They Never Come Alone<p>Meyerson calls for caution. "I don't think we should be introducing species" into ecosystems, she says. "I mean, they never come alone. They bring all their friends, their microflora, and maybe parasites and things clinging to their roots or their leaves. … It's like bringing some mattress off the street into your house."</p><p>Burgiel warns that labeling can have unintended consequences. We in the invasive species field … focus on non-native species that cause harm," he says. "Some people think that anything that's not native is invasive, which isn't necessarily the case." Because resources are limited and land management and conservation are publicly funded, Burgiel says, it is critical that the public understands how the decisions are being made.</p><p>Piero Genovesi, chair of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's Invasive Species Specialist Group, sees the debate about classification — and therefore about management — as a potential distraction from more pressing conservation issues.</p><p>"The real bulk of conservation is that we want to focus on the narrow proportion of alien species that are really harmful," he says. In Hawaii "we don't discuss species that are there [but aren't] causing any problem because we don't even have the energy for dealing with them all. And I can tell you, no one wants to remove [non-native] cypresses from Tuscany. So, I think that some of the discussions are probably not so real in the work that we do in conservation."</p><p>Indigenous frameworks offer another way to look at species searching for a new home in the face of climate change. According to <a href="https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11625-018-0571-4" target="_blank">a study</a> published in Sustainability Science in 2018 by Dartmouth Native American studies and environmental studies associate professor Nicholas Reo, a citizen of the Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians, and Dartmouth anthropology associate professor Laura Ogden, some Anishnaabe people view plants as persons and the arrival of new plants as a natural form of migration, which is not inherently good or bad. They may seek to discover the purpose of new species, at times with animals as their teachers. In their paper Reo and Ogden quote Anishnaabe tribal chairman Aaron Payment as saying, "We are an extension of our natural environment; we're not separate from it."</p>
The Need for Collaboration<p>The successful conservation of Earth's species in a way that keeps biodiversity functional and healthy will likely depend on collaboration. Without global agreements, one can envision scenarios in which countries try to impede high-value species from moving beyond their borders, or newly arriving species are quickly overharvested.</p><p>In Nature Climate Change, Sheffers and Pecl call for a Climate Change Redistribution Treaty that would recognize species redistribution beyond political boundaries and establish governance to deal with it. Treaties already in place, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, which regulates trade in wild plants and animals; the Migratory Bird Treaty Act; and the Agreed Measures for the Conservation of Antarctic Fauna and Flora, can help guide these new agreements.</p><p>"We are living through the greatest redistribution of life on Earth for … potentially hundreds of thousands of years, so we definitely need to think about how we want to manage that," Pecl says.</p><p>Genovesi agrees that conservationists need a vision for the future. "What we do is more to be reactive [to known threats]. … It's so simple to say that destroying the Amazon is probably not a good idea that you don't need to think of a step ahead of that." But, he adds, "I don't think we have a real answer in terms of okay, this is a threshold of species, or this is the temporal line where we should aim to." Defining a vision for what success would look like, Genovesi says, "is a question that hasn't been addressed enough by science and by decision makers."</p><p>At the heart of these questions are values. "All of these perceptions around what's good and what's bad, all [are based on] some kind of value system," Pecl says. "As a whole society, we haven't talked about what we value and who gets to say what's of value and what isn't."</p><p>This is especially important when it comes to marginalized voices, and Pecl says she is concerned because she doesn't "think we have enough consideration or representation of Indigenous worldviews." Reo and colleagues <a href="https://cpb-us-e1.wpmucdn.com/sites.dartmouth.edu/dist/9/52/files/2012/10/Reo_etal_AIQ_invasive_species_2017.pdf" target="_blank">wrote in American Indian Quarterly in 2017</a> that climate change literature and media coverage tend to portray native people as vulnerable and without agency. Yet, says Pecl, "The regions of the world where [biodiversity and ecosystems] are either not declining or are declining at a much slower rate are Indigenous controlled" — suggesting that Indigenous people have potentially managed species more effectively in the past, and may be able to manage changing species distributions in a way that could be informative to others working on these issues.</p><p>Meanwhile, researchers such as Lips see species classification as native or other as stemming from a perspective that there is a better environmental time and place to return to. "There is no pristine, there's no way to go back," says Lips. "The entire world is always very dynamic and changing. And I think it's a better idea to consider just simply what is it that we do want, and let's work on that."</p>
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