Good news as new body sets out to tackle the great wildlife extinction crisis
Sunday, June 13 2010 @ 02:03 PM EDT
Contributed by: jkr
By Geoffry Lean June 13th, 2010
It has not had nearly so much attention from governments as climate change, but the world wildlife crisis rivals global warming for importance and seriousness. Over the next 90 years, by some estimates, we will have driven half of the world’s wild species to extinction. That would be the greatest mass disappearance of life since the one 65 million years ago that brought about the death of the dinosaurs, from which life on earth took millions years to recover. And, unlike that and the previous four great extinctions in the planet’s history – which all had natural causes this one is being caused by just one species, ourselves, as we destroy the world’s wild places.
n 2002, the world leaders solemnly promised, at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, to bring about ‘a significant reduction’ in the rate of loss by this year, but nothing has been done. Indeed the destruction has accelerated over the last eight years, even though assessment after scientific assessment has sounded the alarm.
But now there is a bit of good news. Late last week, governments meeting in Busan, South Korea decided to set up a new body to bring together all the scientific knowledge of accelerating decline, make sense of it, and report to national leaders in the hope of spurring action. Labouring under the unwieldy name of the Intergovernmental Science Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), it is intended in many ways to mirror the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change which – despite recent mistakes and current poor leadership – has done much to mobilise public concern and official action to tackle global warming.