An international group of scientists is proposing a third way that marries the two in an ambitious plan they hope will save the species that make our planet so rich—including ourselves.
They set out their timetable in a paper released Friday in the journal Science Advances calling for a "Global Deal for Nature." Its unified objective: protect the ecosystems to combat climate change; combat climate change to protect the ecosystems.
It aims to set aside 30 percent of the planet's lands for various degrees of protection from development and destruction by 2030, with additional protections for another 20 percent. It also sets goals for conservation in oceans and freshwater ecosystems.
"We've made a mess of it for ourselves in terms of biodiversity and climate. We're on two terrible trajectories," said Eric Dinerstein, the lead author of the paper. "We're living through the sixth great extinction crisis and a dramatic change in the earth's climate, which threatens the future of humanity."