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Scary UN report: One million species at risk of extinction

Scary UN report: One million species at risk of extinction

Biodiversity is declining globally in ways unprecedented in human history and the rate of species extinction is accelerating.

The study by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services presented in Paris last week speaks of the fact that there are 1,000,000 species of animals and plants in danger of extinction and of the urgent need for "transformative changes" to restore and protect nature.

The abundance of native species in most major terrestrial habitats has declined by at least 20%, mostly since 1900. Also, more than 40% of amphibian species, almost 33% of corals and more than one third of all marine mammals are threatened.

The picture is less clear for insect species, but according to the available evidence, an estimated 10% are threatened.

The report has assessed the changes in the last five decades, providing a comprehensive picture of the relationship between economic development pathways and their impact on nature. It also offers a range of possible scenarios for the next few decades.

It especially points out that since 1980 greenhouse gas emissions have doubled, raising average global temperatures by at least 0.7 degrees Celsius, as climate change is already affecting nature from the ecosystem level to that of the genetic; Impacts are expected to increase in the coming decades.

“The health of the ecosystems that we and all other species depend on is deteriorating faster than ever. "We are eroding the foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life around the world."

"The report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at all levels, from local to global." “Through 'transformative change', nature can still be conserved, restored and used in a sustainable way, this is also key to meeting most of the other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental reorganization of the entire system through technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values. "

President of IPBES, Sir Robert Watson

Other relevant details of the report:

  • Three-quarters of the terrestrial environment and about 66% of the marine environment have been significantly altered by human actions. On average, these trends have been less severe or avoided in areas maintained or managed by Indigenous Peoples and Local Communities.
  • More than a third of the world's land area and nearly 75% of freshwater resources are now used for agricultural or livestock production.
  • The value of agricultural production has increased by approximately 300% since 1970, the extraction of raw wood has increased by 45% and each year approximately 60 billion tons of renewable and non-renewable resources are extracted worldwide, almost double since 1980.
  • Land degradation has reduced the productivity of 23% of the global land area, up to US $ 577 billion in annual crops per year are at risk from the loss of pollinators and between 100 and 300 million people are at increased risk of floods and hurricanes due to loss of coastal habitats and protection.
  • In 2015, 33% of marine fish stocks were being caught at unsustainable levels; 60% are fished most sustainably, and only 7% are caught at levels lower than those that can be harvested sustainably.
  • Urban areas have more than doubled since 1992.
  • Plastic pollution has increased tenfold since 1980, 300-400 million tons of heavy metals, solvents, toxic sludge, and other industrial facility wastes are discharged annually into world waters, and fertilizers entering coastal ecosystems have produced more than 400 ocean “dead zones”. , totaling over 245,000 km2 (591-595) - a combined area larger than that of the UK.
  • Negative trends in nature will continue through 2050 and beyond in all policy scenarios explored in the Report, except those that include transformative change, due to the projected impacts of increased land use change, exploitation of organisms and climate change, although with important differences between regions.

With information from:

Video: Humans pushing 1 million species to brink of extinction, says UN report (October 2020).