In the UK, out of 8,431 species, 1,188 are threatened with extinction – “we cannot ignore biodiversity loss.”
That’s the sentiment of Sir Patrick Vallance, Government Chief Scientific Adviser, who has stated that globally an estimated one million species are at risk and currently biodiversity is decreasing at a quicker rate than in any other point in human history.
“Nature is a finite resource – and human self-interest alone should determine that biodiversity must be protected,” he wrote in a recent article.
Billions of people worldwide depend on wild species for survival, as do many other animals in the chain.
Vallance explains: “Humans are driving biodiversity loss by destroying, polluting and fragmenting habitats across the globe.
“Many of the UK’s important peatlands, which provide a home for rare species such as the hen harrier, have been drained for agricultural use. The Amazon rainforest is being cleared to such an extent that it may be near a tipping point beyond which it cannot recover.”
Overexploitation has been tipped as the main factor for biodiversity loss, coupled with the climate crisis. “We have a vicious cycle: climate change leads to biodiversity losses, which in turn leads to further climate change,” he wrote.
Solutions lie with those in power, he suggests, revealing that CBD COP15 provides the next opportunity for governments to commit to ambitious climate mitigation plans.
“The last decade’s targets were not met; the next decade’s must be.”
On the upcoming conference, he concluded: “CBD COP15 could deliver landmark action and be as important for biodiversity as the Paris Agreement is proving for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“It will set the direction for the next decade of international action and beyond. Governments should agree to halt and reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 and develop evidence-based, actionable plans to do so.
“Credible delivery plans will be required and we need a robust mechanism for monitoring progress and holding ourselves to account.”