Climate change is already beginning to transform our world. Around the globe, seasons are shifting, temperatures are climbing and sea levels are rising. And meanwhile, our planet must still supply us — and all living things — with air, water, food and safe places to live.
The Asia Pacific region is on the front lines of global climate change — especially in the region’s Pacific Island countries, where rising seas and stronger storms threaten coastlines and island habitats.
The Nature Conservancy is working across the Asia Pacific region to find climate solutions for people and nature. For example, in Papua New Guinea, we’re using scientific modeling to predict future sea-level rise and identify the best areas to focus protection efforts — from village gardens to nesting beaches for endangered sea turtles.
In Northern Australia, we’re working with Indigenous Australians to use millennia-old fire management practices — updated with the latest science — to stop dangerous late-season wildfires, prevent CO2 emissions and earn carbon credits that they can sell to finance conservation efforts.
Climate-related coral bleaching is a growing threat to Asia Pacific coral reefs, which are home to one-half of the world’s reef fish species. The Conservancy is working with partners to establish scientifically-designed marine protected areas to safeguard coral reefs that are resilient to coral bleaching — protecting key habitats and allowing resilient corals to “reseed” other reefs.
Throughout the Pacific, the Conservancy is working with communities to identify the resources they rely on that are most at risk from climate change and to implement adaptation strategies that will secure their homes, livelihoods and culture.
And, at the global level, we are joining with Asia Pacific governments and other partners to support community adaptation and fulfill international climate agreements, drawing on our legacy of success with science-based solutions around the world.
In late 2015, the Conservancy supported participants at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris. The conference attendees made an unprecedented global agreement to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels.
The Conservancy’s China Program coordinated with China’s national delegation before the COP21 meeting to share information about carbon reduction programs. China received widespread praise at the meeting for making significant commitments to reducing carbon emissions.
Conservancy staff members also served on Indonesia’s official COP21 delegation and contributed to Indonesia’s Intended Nationally Determined Contribution document, which outlines the country’s transition to a low carbon future.
The COP21 Paris Agreement sent a strong message that countries are ready to take concrete actions to reduce emissions and end deforestation. The Conservancy has already been tackling this work through our support of the Berau Forest Carbon Program in Indonesia, and we hope to build on this momentum to launch similar efforts in other places.
Small Islands Developing States, or SIDS, are highly threatened by climate change. The Conservancy and our partner, the Global Island Partnership, co-hosted a special event at COP21 to showcase the urgent threats faced by SIDS and show how the Conservancy-supported Micronesia Challenge is inspiring other regions to band together to address climate change and other conservation issues.
As the world faces a changing climate, the Conservancy is joining with the people of the Asia Pacific region to strengthen natural habitats and secure their water, food and livelihoods. From the grasslands of Mongolia to Indonesia’s forests and Palau’s tropical reefs, we share one goal: to build a more resilient future for people and nature.