UN: We Have 10 Years To Save Earth’s Biodiversity From Mass Extinction
A United Nations agency reported that the Earth is entering the sixth era of mass extinction and nearly a third of the planet will need to be protected by 2030 and pollution cut by half to save our remaining wildlife, according to CNN.
The UN Convention on Biological Diversity released a draft plan on Monday, which sets global goals to combat the ongoing biodiversity crisis in the coming decades, and is expected to be finalized and adopted in October at a biodiversity summit in Kunming, China.
“Biodiversity, and the benefits it provides, is fundamental to human well-being and a healthy planet,” the draft plan reads. “Despite ongoing efforts, biodiversity is deteriorating worldwide and this decline is projected to continue or worsen under business-as-usual scenarios.”
The convention aims to stabilize our fragile biodiversity by 2030 and allow ecosystems to recover by 2050, and lays out 20 targets for the next decade.
One target is to provide protected status to sites important for biodiversity, covering at least 30 percent of the land and sea areas by 2030, with at least 10 percent under “strict protection.”
Other targets include cutting pollution (from biocides, plastic wastes, and excess nutrients) by at least 50 percent and providing better food security and clear water for vulnerable communities to reduce “human-wildlife conflict.”
The UN warned in 2019 that the global rate of species extinction is at least tens of hundreds of times higher than it has been on average over the past 10 million years because of human activity.
The main threats include shrinking habitats, the exploitation of natural resources, climate change, and pollution. According to the 2019 UN report, humans have altered 75 percent of Earth’s land and 66 percent of marine ecosystems since the pre-industrial era.
The draft plan cites population growth, rising demand, and depleted resources as a substantial part of the problem. The current world population of 7.6 billion is expected to reach 8.6 billion by 2030 and 9.8 billion by 2050, with severe “implications for the demand of resources, including food, infrastructure, and land use.”